Sunday, 11 April 2010

Scene On A Sunday: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

I've really got this movie on my mind today.
I liked The Curious Case of Benjamin Button more than the average person, it’s been on my mind quite much recently too, as you probably guessed from my nostalgic waxing. Like so many good films, it remains as proof that a long film is never necessarily a boring one. I like essentially everything in it, but Cate always stands out as my favourite part, and a favourite moment of mine depends on her. It occurs just a few moments after her first date with Benjamin where she’s at her most loquacious. But it’s the moment just after that always thrills me. As she lifts herself up onto the gazebo she says, 
 Dancers…don’t need costumes or scenery. I could imagine dancing completely naked…
 Cate is so in touch with the immaturity of Daisy, I’m amazed that the film is so recent. The impetuous young dancer is really just showing off for Benjamin as she does her moves. 

Have you read D. H. Lawrence? His books were banned. The words are like making love…
I love Cate’s reading of that piece in particular; it’s so indolent, as if she’s actually languishing in Lawrence’s words.

The lean in for the kiss that doesn’t come is lovely, and as so much with Benjamin Button it’s always thrilling to notice the effective makeup and special effects, even when they’re not the focus. 

In our group, you have to trust…not be afraid…sex…is a big part of it…a lot of the dancers are lesbians. A woman wanted to sleep with me once. 
It’s to Cate’s credit that we don’t find Daisy completely juvenile at moments like these. We need to be caught up in the radiance of Daisy, complete with the iconic red dress from designer Jacqueline West – and we are. I love the quiet show of emotion from Brad when she asks him, 
Does that upset you? 
It’s not his greatest performance, but he’s completely effective as Benjamin. 
People should want to sleep with you. You’re desirable.
He too works hard here, though not as officiously. Why doesn’t Benjamin take up Daisy’s invitation? They’re both adults. He manages to make the rebuff, less so, and more of an act of believable maturity from Benjamin. 
Go back to New York, Daisy…be with the people you are so fond of…You can only be young once…
As Cate dejectedly picks up her shoes and stalks off I’m always moved to wonder how a scene with no actual physical contact between the leads always seems so sensual.


Simon said...

I agree that Cate Blanchett is very underrated in this.

CrazyCris said...

you're going to get me to head out and finally buy the dvd! lol!

The Mad Hatter said...

While I was left slightly underwhelmed by this movie overall, I must admit that this scene knocked me out.

Great choice!

Luke said...

What a great scene! Good choice - I'm of the opinion that Benjamin Button wasn't deserving of the backlash it received during awards season last year. It was a very beautiful movie (and I completely agree that Blanchett was the stand-out and was quite surprised at how she got essentially shafted from consideration across the board).

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

simon sad, but true.

crazy cris aw shucks, look what i made you do...:)

the mad hatter glad you liked the scene at least. anything in particular that underwhelmed you in the film?

luke i believe it was a case of cate overload, people just couldn't handle all that aussie greatness (the aviator, then notes, then babel, then i'm not there, then elizabeth. she actually trumps the entire BA lineup that year for me.

The Mad Hatter said...

@ Andrew... I found it a little odd that a script based on a short story could get so very long for starters. Nontheless, what saddened me the most was how long they spent with Button being middle aged (perhaps his least interesting time).

A young man in an old body is an amazing story - and an old man in a child's body is one of the most fascinating things I've ever heard of. While the first part of that gets its due, the second half (elderly mind in a kid's body) was just skirted past as an afterthought.

It's been a long time since I watched it, so maybe it's better if you take a look at my review of it.