Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +3

Content: +2

Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Taraji P. Henson, Tilda Swinton, Jason Flemyng, Elias Koteas. Comedy/drama/fantasy. Written by Eric Roth. Based on the story by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Directed by David Fincher.

FILM SYNOPSIS: "I was born under unusual circumstances." And so begins The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, adapted from the 1920s story by F. Scott Fitzgerald about a man who is born in his eighties and ages backwards: a man, like any of us, who is unable to stop time. We follow his story set in New Orleans from the end of World War I in 1918, into the 21st century. Itís a grand tale of a not so ordinary man and the people and places he discovers along the way, the loves he finds, the joys of life and the sadness of death, and what lasts beyond time.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Nearly an epic tale considering the source material comes from a short story, the highly creative and touching film concerns romance, life and death, and fateís impact upon them. CGI ingenuity plays an important role in the success of bringing the book to cinematic life. And it will be hard to imagine any other film winning the makeup and special effects categories during the Oscar telecast this coming year. But the filmmakers see to it that these extra special effects contribute to the drama rather than overshadow it.

With sound performances, spiritually uplifting themes and mesmerizing storytelling ability, this is movies at their best. Curious Case is magic, one of the most surprising of the season. Despite its length, almost no one at the screening left for concessions or bathroom breaks. They were hooked by something they seldom see Ė involving storytelling.

It will be interesting to see if Brad Pitt finally catches Oscarís attention for his sincere performance as the man who aged backwards. Like that of Claude Raines in The Invisible Man, such a performance can be overshadowed by technical effects. But while the make-up and CGI departments have aided in creating this life-observing character, Mr. Pitt brings a vulnerability to the character. You see him think, observe and react to the wonder of life and the awareness of manís ultimate fate.

While there is some adult subject matter, including an adulterous affair and the implying of sex outside marriage, nothing is done in order to be exploitive or crude. As for Christian ethics, they can be found through the leadís ďmother,Ē a black woman who has taken in this unloved baby and given him all the security and purpose a child could seek. She looks upon this unwanted baby as a child of God and she spends her life behaving like one.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Paramount/Warner Bros.

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: One or two crude sexual comments

Obscene Language: Six or so obscenities, mostly the s-word, only one of which is spoken by the lead.

Profanity: Four profane uses of Godís name or Christís; variations of the expression, ďOh my GodĒ are heard a few times.

Violence: There is a brief scuffle between two sailors; a young woman is hit by a car; we do not see the car actually strike her.

Sex: There are a couple of sexual situations, and it is implied that the lead has several sexual liaisons throughout his life; he is first introduced to sexual activity in a bordello; these scenes are not graphic, nor is there any nudity; the two leads live together outside marriage; he participates in adultery.

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: A couple of sexual discussions.

Drugs: Drinking and smoking throughout, though the lead does neither very much.

Other: None

Running Time: 165 minutes
Intended Audience: Older Teens and Adults

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