Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

A Life Lived Backwards; (1) Pitt the Younger: Button (Brad Pitt) Is Born with a Genetic Condition That Means He Begins Life as a Wizened Old Man and Dies a Baby (2) Pitt the Elder: Brad with Tilda Swinton

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

A Life Lived Backwards; (1) Pitt the Younger: Button (Brad Pitt) Is Born with a Genetic Condition That Means He Begins Life as a Wizened Old Man and Dies a Baby (2) Pitt the Elder: Brad with Tilda Swinton

Article excerpt

Byline: DEREK MALCOLM

THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON Cert 12A, 167 mins .. .. .. .. ...

ANY film which has gathered 13 Oscar nominations demands to be treated with respect, but it is only occasionally that this near-three-hours-long adaptation of a thin novella by F Scott Fitzgerald deserves anything more. An intended tour de force, it is strangely unable to engage the emotions. In the end it amounts to an overweight movie that delivers less than its clever director, David Fincher, seems to think.

Charting Button's life from birth to death, but the wrong way round in that he is born a wrinkled veteran and progresses remorselessly towards middle-age, youth and childhood the film tries to tell us something about time, coincidence, fate and even the history of the 20th century. Yet, despite a certain panache, it's an oddly onepaced piece from the maker of the swingeing pyrotechnics of Se7en and Fight Club.

You do have to admire the efficacy of the make-up team, however, as Button (Brad Pitt) and Daisy (Cate Blanchett), his lifelong love, progress through life, from old to young, in opposite directions. From the moment Button is born to his dying mother and emerges a wizened old man, rejected by his father and taken in by a kindly nursinghome helper (Taraji P Henson), the real Pitt is successfully and successively plastered with greasepaint and latex until he reaches roughly his own age.

Whereupon Blanchett exclaims: "You're just perfect!" At this point, you can't help smiling at Eric Roth's screenplay, which otherwise is as po-faced as anything he penned for the Oscarwinning but dire Forrest Gump.

We enter the film just before Hurricane Katrina strikes, as the dying Daisy, prosthetically altered, provides the gaps between the details of Button's life read aloud to her at her hospital bedside by her daughter (Julia Ormond) from a diary. …

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