« Theatre Needs Critics | Main | Give It Up for Woody Rosenberg (Seriously) »

The Curious Case of Two Pedophiles

Benjamin_Button3 Not to put too fine a point on it, but The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is slightly kinky.

Early on the tone is set. Benjamin Button (Brad Pitt) is in his near dotage when he is caught sitting under the bed with a very young girl. Of course, we know he is aging backwards and therefore arguably a young boy at that point. But he sure as hell looks like a geezer and the girl's grandmother has every right to be agitated when she lifts the covers and spots them.

There is little doubt about it: Benjamin and the child are in love. Regrettably, the sweetly odd F. Scott Fitzgerald short story, which inspired this film, has become a vehicle for heavy handed ideas about true love transcending age discrepancies, wild age discrepancies.

Benjamin_Button2 As Benjamin grows increasingly youthful, his lover (Cate Blanchett) matures and so inevitably they chronologically meet up (as it were) and are for a time at least well-suited.

But that cannot last. She grows old and he reverts to boyhood and finally infantilism. By the end, she is rocking the tot in her arms. One can't help envisioning her breast feeding him, though she's clearly a post-menopausal woman and well past lactation. But they continue to be besotted with one another.

On her death bed she remarks that before he died, he looked at her with his baby eyes and somehow knew--in his admittedly small preverbal mind—their love was meant to be. This adds a whole new dimension to the cougar flirting with her boy toy.

That's not to say there aren't some wonderful elements in this movie. The image of a clock designed to move time backwards is brilliant. So is the idea that Benjamin's fate has been set in motion by that clock. Within the framework of a fantasy, it's a mysterious and haunting conceit.

Benjamin's fleeting love affair with a married woman (Tilda Swinton) is touching, certainly more so—and definitely more plausible--than the (allegedly) age defying romantic bond between an old crock and a pre-nubile girl and later a biddy with her toddler.

When will filmmakers learn to lighten up and spare us such nonsense in the guise of progressive thought?

-- Simi Horwitz  Benjamin_Button1

Dig This


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference The Curious Case of Two Pedophiles:


The comments to this entry are closed.