Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Despite its length, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) is a very enjoyable film. Maybe it's because I love watching old-era-themed films. Also, the movie's cinematography and musical scoring make me cry, together with its wonderful plot.

After reading F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1922 short story with the same title, I realized that the two were somehow similar and mostly different. Now, I will not point/enumerate their differences, rather I'll give to you my personal suggestions regarding the changes.

First, the movie was studded with many other characters whose lives were touched by Benjamin. Each has their own backgrounds and their small parts on Benjamin's life. However, the short story revolved around Benjamin's family--from his parents down to his son--making it more personal, and very heartwarming. I think, it would be better if in the film, they introduced also the characters of his family and gave them more part to deepen Benjamin's trials.

The movie also used key events in world history in order to lead the audiences about the time. The scenes showing the world war, the first man on the moon, the Beatles, hurricane Katrina, helped the audiences know what year is it. However in the story, there were none.

Benjamin Button, both the short story and the film touched my heart with their memorable quotes and life-reality plots.

First in the short story, Hildegarde Moncrief (Benjamin's wife) says
"Young boys are so idiotic. They tell me how much champagne they drink at college, and how much money they lose playing cards. Men of your age know how to appreciate women. […] You're just the romantic age […], fifty. Twenty-five is too wordly-wise; thirty is apt to be pale from overwork; forty is the age of long stories that take a whole cigar to tell; sixty is – oh, sixty is too near 70; but fifty is the mellow age. I love fifty. […] I've always said […] that I'd rather marry a man of fifty and be taken care of than many a man of thirty and take care of him. (1.6.15-18)"
 This connotes that she understands the importance of age and their meanings. She also serves as a contrast to Benjamin by being of the same age but different physical features, meeting in the middle (40+). This is the same in the movie for the character of Daisy Fuller. However, they differed on how they loved Benjamin. Hildegarde was like other wives, embarrassed on their husbands, and feeling that they had the biggest mistakes in their lives. While Daisy, since the time they were married, loved Benjamin and became faithful to him no matter what. She understands his case, and very positive that there child would be normal. She even said that when if not, She'll take care of both of them.

In the story, Benjamin's son Roscoe was a very mean character. He dislikes his father and even commanded the latter to call him uncle because he was very ashamed of him. Also, they were together most of their lives. In the movie, Caroline, his daughter, saw him only once in their lives and as strangers. But she however felt longing for him.

Queenie, Benjamin's foster mother, was also a heartbreaking character. She loved Benjamin the way others didn't. Without her, he might not have been alive. Their relationship also was very realistic.

 In the movie, there were many cameo roles, especially those who stayed in the elderly home. I am very fond of the man who was struck by lightning seven times. Because in the end of his sharing, he said that he is very thankful he's still alive.

The themes of life, love, friendship, and overcoming trials are prevalent in the film and the short story, both by plot and by quotes. And so I'll end this blog by giving you memorable quotes from the movie and the short story.

From the Short Story

“Our lives are defined by opportunities, even the ones we miss.”

“You never know what's coming for you.”

“I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.”

From the movie

"For what it's worth: it's never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There's no time limit, start whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people who have a different point of view. I hope you live a life you're proud of, and if you find that you're not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again."

"You can be as mad as a mad dog at the way things went. You could swear, curse the fates, but when it comes to the end, you have to let go."

"Benjamin Button: Some people were born to sit by a river. Some get struck by lightning. Some have an ear for music. Some are artists. Some swim. Some know buttons. Some know Shakespeare. Some are mothers. And some people — dance."

"Benjamin, we're meant to lose the people we love. How else would we know how important they are to us?"

"Sometimes we're on a collision course, and we just don't know it. Whether it's by accident or by design, there's not a thing we can do about it."

"It's a funny thing about comin' home. Looks the same, smells the same, feels the same. You'll realize what's changed is you."

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