Cu­ri­ous mas­ter­piece

Pitt, spe­cial ef­fects strong in tragic story

The Covington News - - Local news -

“ Cu­ri­ous Case to Ben­jamin But­ton” is a pe­cu­liar movie in­deed. Rarely to­day do such sprawl­ing, vis­ually stun­ning films have such an im­pact­ful mes­sage to tell.

“ But­ton” be­gins with a daugh­ter be­side her mother’s hospi­tal bed. While they, like the rest of New Orleans, pre­pare for Hur­ri­cane Ka­t­rina to make land fall, it quickly be­comes clear the mother has only a short time left. Dur­ing her last few hours, the mother, Daisy, asks her daugh­ter to read to her from an old leather bound di­ary.

The di­ary be­longed to a man named Ben­jamin But­ton ( Brad Pitt) who was born un­der cu­ri­ous cir­cum­stances. From the ex­ces­sive wrin­kles to the arthri­tis in his joints, But­ton was born with all the char­ac­ter­is­tics of a very old man, only trapped in a baby’s body. His fa­ther, crazed by the death of his wife dur­ing child­birth and the sight of what ap­pears to be a mon­strous baby, leaves the child on the back door steps of an elder care cen­ter. There But­ton is found by a black care­giver who takes him as her own son.

As the years pass, peo­ple as­sume But­ton is just an­other old, al­beit very small, man at the home. While he grows younger, those around him grow older and one by one die. In this way But­ton be­comes ac­cus­tomed to death as a mat­ter of life. Like his sur­ro­gate mother tells him, you have to be thank­ful for the time you are given.

While at the home, But­ton meets a young girl named Daisy and the two be­come fast friends. For the first time, But­ton is able to con­nect with some­one his own age, even if some of those around her do not un­der­stand. Their friend­ship de­vel­ops into a love that will last a life time. As she grows older and he grows younger, their lives con­tinue to in­ter­sect at the most pe­cu­liar and of­ten in­con­ve­nient times.

Through the course of the movie and But­ton’s life, he meets all sorts of strange and won­der­ful peo­ple as he trav­els the world. Mike ( Jared Har­ris) is a tug­boat cap­tain who has turned his body into the can­vas for his art. But­ton finds love and sor­row as women come in and out of his life. He also dis­cov­ers the hor­rors of war and that not all deaths are as nat­u­ral as his friends’ back in the nurs­ing home.

While his cu­ri­ous ex­is­tence has its ad­van­tages, But­ton must also come to terms with the ter­ri­ble truth that be­fore he dies, he will for­get all that he has known and all those he has loved. Without spoil­ing the end­ing, I will say that I truly do not know what de­ci­sions I would make if I were to be put into the cir­cum­stances But­ton must face at the end of his life. For all the films mas­ter­ful spe­cial ef­fects and sub­urb act­ing, it is But­ton’s fi­nal de­ci­sions that will have peo­ple talk­ing af­ter the last cred­its roll.

Grade: B+

Warner Broth­ers

Brad Pitt stars in “The Cu­ri­ous Case of Ben­jamin But­ton” — a story of a man who ages back­ward.

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