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Maybe Benjamin Barbell?

December 26, 2008 |  7:20 am


This week we began a 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. Our discussion turns from the story itself to the film adaptation, which opened Dec. 25.

Shaft, I'm not sure I'm with you on this bell curve thing. That describes how a bunch of people fall out -- lots in the middle, few on the ends. As John says, the story covers a lot of ground, and decades go by in paragraphs. In this way, I think the text is more like a barbell: it weights the attention on the ends of Benjamin Button's life, and is thinner in the middle. I think this is so the story can focus on the times when Benjamin's experience is significantly different from those around him, when those contrasts reveal the indignities we suffer, and the sometimes ridiculous assumptions we make.

I think, from the previews I've seen, that the film spends a lot more time on the middle parts of Button's life. And with that, let me ask: How do you think "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" will work as a film? What are your expectations of it?

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo by Andew Eick via Flickr