The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Wow, a lot of people hated this movie. I thought it was sublime – almost perfect in it’s quietness. Maybe you have to be a certain type of person to like this movie, or maybe some people just didn’t get it. Either way, I once again find myself standing with the underdog, staring at what I took to be a masterpiece of a film. It’s about so many things, and shows them most beautifully.

It’s about the fact that everything is connected. This is shown most clearly when Daisy’s legs are broken. That whole speech – that whole glorious speech – about how if just one thing had happened differently, Daisy would still be a dancer. Weird how one little speech can show how clearly all of our lives are connected – that we can’t go through life without being clearly affected and impacted by everyone else. I think that’s one of the biggest messages in the film – we are alone, but at the same time we are never alone. Benjamin mentions several times about how he was alone, especially in the fact that he aged backward. Yet, he also never failed to mention all the people who made a dent in his life, who impacted it. So, even though you can only see through your own eyes (a line of Benjamin’s), you’re still always being affected by everyone else who you are connected to.

It’s about the fact that nothing lasts forever. It doesn’t matter if you’re aging backwards or forwards, the people you love most will die anyway. One day your legs will give out. “None of us is perfect forever”. And because of that fact, “our lives are defined by our opportunities….even the ones we miss”.

When I saw the beginning of this movie, I thought it was going to be a “be careful what you wish for” type of thing. The clockmaker who wished time would move backwards. But Benjamin’s life isn’t a tragedy. As different as his life is from everyone else, his life ends up being very much the same. It’s all about seizing opportunities, and making the best life you possibly can for yourself. Whether your a dancer or an artist, whether you age backwards or forwards or get struck by lightening a lot. It’s about taking what you were given and making the most of it, no matter what. It’s about it never being too late to change and be exactly what you’ve always wanted to be – no matter how young or old you are. That’s the movie’s real message. I think most people went in expecting some great insight about aging backwards, about how different it is. But instead, the movie just reflected our lives back toward us. Because in a way, we’re all Benjamin Buttons. We’re all something different – someone who knows buttons, or swims. Some of us are mothers, or have an ear for music, or, again, age backwards. But in the end we’re all connected, because no matter what we’re given, it’s up to us to make the best of it.

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