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Final thoughts on Benjamin Button

filmshort storyThe Curious Case of Benjamin Button


Thanks for joining us for our discussion of "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," the short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It takes about an hour to read and can be found online here at Project Gutenberg (with the rest of "Tales of the Jazz Age") and here on its own. The film adaptation, starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, opened Dec. 25. Our last thoughts:

John Fox, who, in addition to blogging at Bookfox, has a master In professional writing from USC and a master's in literary theory from NYU, says:

Even though the story "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" didn't impress me, I'm glad to have read it. It gave me another reference point in interpreting Gatsby, and led me to other stories in "Tales from the Jazz Age" which are even better. Plus, now I can offer pretentious small-talk at parties about how the film actually came from a Fitzgerald story. In this town of L.A., where everyone assumes "screenwriter" when I say writer, I need all the literary plugs I can get.

Shaft, a blogger at Baby Got Books, adds:

I told myself (and you) that I wouldn't do this, but I can't help myself.  The world has been done a disservice that Hollywood has made a big-budget film "loosely based" on Fitzgerald's short story.  "The Confessions of Max Tivoli" is such a better use of a similar (but importantly different) premise, and now will be either unknown or thought of as a knock-off (which it isn't).

Amy Shearn earned her MFA at the University of Minnesota and wrote "How Far is the Ocean From Here." She blogs at Moonlight Ambulette and has a different take:

Thanks again for inviting me to take part!  It was fun. I can't wait to see the movie....
Thanks to all of them for taking part and to you for reading. Me, I'm going to see the movie too.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Paramount Pictures
Comments () | Archives (8)

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What I really loved about the Benjamin Button movie are the scenes with Tilda Swinton. What a fantastic setting for those actors and they have great chemistry. Better than with Cate Blanchett.

In regard to John Fox's comment. You recall of course that Fitzgerald was a screenwriter for a while and would have fit right in with today's crowd.

You know I read that story almost 40 years ago and though I didn't know what to make of it at the time, and still don't, it has always come back to my memory when I see old people sitting on benches and children playing nearby. For a "nothing" practically throwaway story that's not bad. . .

I found the movie long and tedious. The special effects were good.

What is the significance of the humming birds?

Can anyone tell me the seven ways the gentleman was hit by lightning in the movie?

The film is gorgeous. But if you take away the the author's name and judge it by the film itself. I would have preferred to see it from Daisy's point of view as Button's life is that of observer and we know nothing of him by the end. granted it's story is about him and 'what if'' but the audience cannot keep guessing for three hours who this man is and why is he here. With Daisy, you can get a better idea of who he is by watching her grow old and live her life which they showed snippets of but not enough to make me see what is at stake. I sound like an elitist critic and I did like the film but if this is a prestige movie, the magnifying glass deserves to put upon it

okay, humming birds... they symbolized death, but in a good way like a realease of a spirit, the fisherman and ben

After seeing Benjamin Button last night I woke up this morning from a dream about my cousin Mike who was killed in Viet Nam. Never mind that MIke kind of looked and moved like a darker Latino Brad Pitt. I believe this film is clearly about people who like my cousin are born "old souls." They are like little old men with tremendous silent wisdom from the age that they speak and walk. This wisdom moves them to pull away from the home and heroically experience the world. They make great soldiers because they don't fear death, are loyal friends and will sacrifice for others. And like Benjamin Buttons, so many die young. Regardless, the film was deeply moving and inspires one to want to read more of the work of F. Scott Fitzgerald.


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