Dec 30, 2008

The Curious Case of the women of Benjamin Button.

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On Christmas day, after the family had retired to the fireplace for the evening, a few friends and I went to the local multiplex to watch The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. I have an odd fascination with both Cate Blanchett and Tilda Swinton. I admire Cate as a striking beauty, as an actor and as a fashionista. Tilda, however, intrigues me because I find her to be non-human bordering ethereal and especially gutsy in her lifestyle, fashion choices and movie roles.

Back to Button- the movie does not disappoint. Set in New Orleans, it chronicles the life of Benjamin Button, played superbly by an Oscar-hungry Brad Pitt, as he ages backwards. Born with the health and prognosis of an average 80-something year old, Button gains sight, mobility and agility as he ages (un-ages?). The movie spans WWI to the moments before Hurricane Katrina gained notoriety.

I'm sure you can find other blogs with more informed and educated reviews, but I will say that the cinematography, post-production and costumers did a superb job of creating looks for each character.

In the film Tilda resembles 1920s Art Deco and for this, I loved every scene she was in. Her angular and almost cubist bone structure added with an impeccable costume selection radiates frigidity without her uttering a single icy syllable.

Blanchett can do anything- I'm convinced. Her sapphire eyes, alabaster skin and ruby mane are, not to be cliche, breathtaking at 20, 30, 40, 50 and older.

Queenie, played by Taraji P. Henson, shines and is a certain for a supporting actress nod (and hopefully a win) at the upcoming Oscars. Her acting and role flirts with caricature but pulls back with a wallop of uncompromising emotion.

Interestingly, one facet many reviewers have glossed over are the racial undertones that punctuate most of the film. From WWI to the very intentional tie-in with Hurricane Katrina, every person that acts as caretaker (hospital staff, nannies and retirement home workers) is African-American. The social commentary is implicit, absent from the rhetoric; but we all know what happened with the levees broke. We know who was/is affected and for an administration laden with follies, Katrina ranks highly among them.

A curious case indeed.

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