FANTASY; 2hr 39min
STARRING: Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Julia Ormond, Taraji P. Henson
Beauty before age: Pitt and Blanchett
Benjamin Button (Pitt) is as curiouser and curiouser as they come. Born in New Orleans in 1918 as a shrivelled baby, abandoned by his father (Jason Flemyng) and raised as a geriatric child by a motherly staffer (Henson) in an old people’s home, he grows ever younger as he grows up. At age 12 going on 70-ish, Benjamin meets young Daisy (Elle Fanning as a seven-year-old, Blanchett as a lissom adult), just about instantly the love of his life, but a love they can only fully realise for the few years their ages coincide.
This might read as confusing but Button — which works its way around the ancient Daisy’s hospital-bed revelations to her understandably rattled daughter (Ormond) on the eve of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina — is so lustrous and sleek its impossibility is a given. It is a meditation on transcience, an old Boy’s Own adventure and, finally, implacably sad. Once he gets a wriggle on, director David Fincher is at ease with the fanciful mix — and who better to embody fleeting beauty than Pitt and Blanchett, stars in the most cruel and treacherous firmament?