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Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Curiosity led me into watching this film. This is one of those unique fiction films that's really interesting. The story began with old Daisy (Cate BLanchett) about to die on a hospital bed with her daughter Caroline (Juia Ormond) on her side. She asked her daughter to read the diary of Benjamin Button.

"I was born under unusual circumstances." That was the first statement said by Benjamin. It was indeed unusual since he lived his life backwards. On November 11, 1918 in New Orleans, a mother died after giving birth to an elderly baby. As soon as his dad, Thomas Button, saw his appearance as an 86-year old baby, Thomas took Benjamin away and abandoned him outside the porch of a nursing home. The couple Queenie and Tizzy who work at the nursing home adopted him and took care of him until the time he was able and grew younger. Queenie was even told by the doctor that the baby is not going to live longer so she took extra care of Benjamin and loved him unconditionally.

It's really odd watching him grow young especially when he calls Queenie "mommy". He does look like the old people around him yet since he is a child by heart and by his real age, he really would love to play with kids. During the time when Benjamin was on his 70's, he met young Daisy whose grandma lives in the nursing home. Benjamin and Daisy plays together and were also together everytime Daisy's grandma reads from a story book. I really find the old Benjamin cute especially when he asks the grandma to read the story again! "Read it again, please!."

Later on, Benjamin decided to look for a job and left the nursing home. He promised Daisy to send her a post card of all the places he goes to. He worked on a tugboat owned by the obnoxious Captain Mike (Jared Harris). Right after he learned that Benjamin hasn't been with a woman ever (since he doesn't know Benjamin's case), he brought Benjamin at a bar that in-houses prostitutes. During these visits at that bar, this is also when he meets Thomas Button. They became friends since Thomas didn't reveal his true relationship to Benjamin yet.

After a few years (he still looked old, though) he met a married woman - Elizabeth Abbott (Tilda Swinton) and fell in love with her. They had an affair and only meets in the lobby of the hotel every night. Elizabeth's husband who was a British spy had no idea about the affair. The fling was cut short since Elizabeth left one morning leaving Benjamin a note and a broken heart. The note said "It was nice to have met you."

The tugboat was caught up in World War II. Most of the sailors on-board the tugboat died including Captain Mike. Benjamin, of course, survived and was saddened because of the tragedy. But when he saw a hummingbird, he right away thought it was Captain Mike's spirit that's in the bird. So he viewed death in a different way since then.

Benjamin returns to his hometown in 1945 and meets with the dying Thomas. The latter reveals he is Benjamin's father and bequeaths all his properties to his son including the house and the button business that his family handed down to him. Benjamin was upset at first. But before his dad died, Benjamin brought him to the his favorite lakeshore where he views the beautiful sunrise.
Daisy was 27 at the time Benjamin was back on the nursing home. He still looked a bit old. He learned that his beautiful friend has become a successful dancer in New York. He went there to watch one of her performances but was disappointed when he found out that Daisy is inlove with a young fellow dancer.

One day, Benjamin received a telegram from Daisy's friend telling him that Daisy met an accident in Paris. He immediately went there and the visit surprised Daisy. He looked younger at that time and Daisy couldn't help but say "You're perfect!" Yet she turned him away and told him to get out of her life. Although Daisy was able to regain her ability to walk, she can no longer go back to her dancing carreer. She then went back to New Orleans and met Benjamin there. This time they fell in love. Romance began and they lived together for the moment. They enjoyed their time together since that was basically the time when their physical age met.

The couple's issues mostly centered on Benjamin getting younger while Daisy getting older. The issue grew intense when Daisy gave birth to a beautiful girl named Caroline.

Since Caroline was the one reading the diary aloud, she herself was shocked. This is her mom's way of telling her that her dad was Benjamin Button. She stopped reading, and realized she needed fresh air. At that time, since Hurricane Katrina is approaching, the sound of thunder contributes to the anxiety that Caroline is felt after knowing the truth about his "real dad". After a few minutes she went back to continue reading the diary.

Benjamin love Caroline so much but then he knew well that he can't be a "real father" to her because of his reverse age. So he sold the remaining properties that he inherited from his dad.

Caroline saw all the post cards that his father kept for her birthdays. This part is so touching especially when he tells Caroline all the things that he wanted to do for her while she was growing up. Like how he wished he could teach her how to play the piano, or that he could show him that he loves her very much.

Benjamin grew younger and he travelled to different countries around the world. He came back as a young Benjamin on his 20's on 1980. At this time, Daisy was already married to a widower. He was even introduced to Caroline whom at that time was 12 years old. He then departed once again and grew younger.

One day, after a few years, Daisy found out that Benjamin was back in the nursing home. He was on his pre-teen and has the symptoms of dementia wherein he could barely remember his past. He doesn't even remember Daisy anymore.

Daisy moved in the nursing home and took care of Benjamin. He became hard-headed confused five-year old boy who wanted to fly from the roof. He grew younger and younger until he became an infant.

Benjamin died as an infant in Daisy's arms in the spring of 2003. Daisy believed that Benjamin recognized her when he stared at him for a moment before he died.

Right after Caroline ended reading the diary, Daisy died and Hurricane Katrina is already in town. Before she left the room where her mom is laid, Caroline saw the hummingbird tapping outside the window. She knew right then and there that it was his father.


Karen said...

I haven't seen the movie yet due to time constraint and I'm hoping to watch it tomorrow - last full show.

Jane Doe said...

I haven't seen this movie yet, but my daughter did and says it's wonderful. I don't usually go to theaters to see movies, but it's going in my Netflix queue as soon as it's on DVD. Not only does it look very good, I love Brad Pitt!

Mary Moore said...

I really want to see this film. It looks fabulous.

honey said...

Ally kumusta?, bitaw nindot ang story.
Yep! nana diay ko manila, dugay na kay ko nahan mag comments dinhi but ako internet bayantel pagka hinay gyud. mag ilis pku smartbro mga next week cguro. Ambot lang len oi, work ba ko, nahan tako pero tapol oi. ehhehe... call center nahan jud ko, pero mag school pku high school mn jud ko. mahay nuon ko ala ko college da. LOL!

Ayo2x diha...

thanks kau sa story.

Alem said...

i wonder if i can find the book where it is based from here in the philippines. i saw the movie and loved it!!!