Starring: Cate Blanchett, Brad Pitt, Tilda Swinton, Julia Ormond, Taraji P. Henson, Jason Flemyng, Edith Ivey, Jared Harris, Mahershala Ali, Patrick Thomas O’Brien, Rampai Mohadi, Ted Manson
OUR RATING: ★★★★☆
Fantasy romantic drama directed by David Fincher, loosely based on the short story of the same name by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) follows Benjamin Button (Brad Pitt), who is born under unusual circumstances, and springs into being as an elderly man in a New Orleans nursing home and ages in reverse. Twelve years after his birth, he meets Daisy (Cate Blanchett). Though he has all sorts of unusual adventures over the course of his life, it is his relationship with Daisy, and the hope that they will come together at the right time, that drives Benjamin forward.
Our Favorite Quotes:
Caroline: [as Daisy is on her deathbed] Are you afraid?
Daisy: I’m curious. What comes next?
Man in Crowd: [1918, referring to the clock] It’s running backwards!
Monsieur Gateau: I made it that way so that perhaps the boys that we lost in the war might stand and come home again. Home to farm, work, have children. To live long, full lives. Perhaps my own son might come home again. I’m sorry if I’ve offended anybody. I hope you enjoy my clock.
Caroline: [from Benjamin’s diary] This is my last will and testament. I don’t have much to leave, few possessions, no money really. I will go out of this world the same way I came in, alone and with nothing. All I have is my story, and I’m writing it now while I still remember it. My name is Benjamin.
Benjamin Button: Benjamin Button. And I was born under unusual circumstances. The First World War had ended, and I’ve been told it was an especially good night to be born.
Benjamin Button: [referring to his mother, Caroline] She gave her life for me. And for that, I am forever grateful.
Queenie: [as she hold baby Benjamin in her arms] You are as ugly as an old pot, but you’re still a child of God.
Dr. Rose: I’ve never seen anything like it. Nearly blind from cataracts. I’m not sure if he can hear. His bones indicate severe arthritis. His skin has lost all elasticity. His hands and feet are ossified. He shows all the deterioration, the infirmities, not of a newborn, but of a man well in his eighties on the way to the grave.
Queenie: He’s dying?
Dr. Rose: His body is failing him before his life’s begun.
Dr. Rose: [referring to Benjamin] Where did he come from?
Queenie: My sister’s child. From Lafayette. She had an unfortunate adventure. The poor child, he got the worst of it. Come out white.
Dr. Rose: Queenie, some creatures aren’t meant to survive.
Queenie: No, this baby, he is a miracle. That’s for certain. Just not the kind of miracle one hopes to see.
Mrs. Horton: [as she looks at the newborn Benjamin] God in heaven. He looks just like my ex-husband.
'I will go out of this world the same way I came in, alone and with nothing. All I have is my story.' (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) Click To Tweet
Queenie: Look, he’s prematurely old. Dr. Rose said he ain’t got much more time on this earth.
General Winston: Join the club.
Tizzy: [to Queenie, referring to Benjamin] Are you right out of your mind? I know you ain’t got all the parts it takes to make one of your own, but this ain’t yours to keep. It may not even be humankind.
Queenie: You never know what’s coming for you.
Benjamin Button: But I didn’t know I was a child. I thought I was like everyone else there. An old man in the twilight of his life.
'Everybody feels different about themselves, one way or another. But we're all going the same way. Just taking different roads to get there, that's all.' - Queenie (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) Click To Tweet
Benjamin Button: Some days, I feel different than the day before.
Queenie: Everybody feels different about themselves, one way or another. But we’re all going the same way. Just taking different roads to get there, that’s all. You’re on your own road, Benjamin.
Benjamin Button: Some nights, I’d have to sleep alone. I didn’t mind. I would listen to the house breathing. All those people sleeping. I felt safe.
Benjamin Button: [reading from one of the labels on the cans] Mole Asses.
Benjamin Button: And death was a common visitor. People came and went. You always knew when someone left us. There was a silence in the house.
Benjamin Button: It was a wonderful place to grow up. I was with people who had shed all the inconsequences of earlier life. Left wondering about the weather, the temperature of a bath, the light at the end of a day. For everyone that died, someone would come to take their place.
'It's funny how sometimes that people we remember the least make the greatest impression on us.' - Benjamin Button Click To Tweet
Benjamin Button: What’s it like living in a cage?
Ngunda Oti: It stinks.
Ngunda Oti: [to Benjamin] Plenty of time you’ll be alone. When you’re different like us, it’s going to be that way. But I’ll tell you a little secret. Fat people, skinny people, tall people, white people, they’re just as alone as we are. But they’re scared s**tless.
Benjamin Button: [referring to Daisy] It was Thanksgiving, 1930. I met the person who changed my life forever.
Daisy Age 7: It’s sad, don’t you think? Birds that can’t fly?
Ngunda Oti: I love birds that can’t fly. They are so delicious.
Daisy Age 7: That’s terrible.
'Don't let anyone tell you different. You got to do what you're meant to do.' - Captain Mike (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) Click To Tweet
Benjamin Button: I’m not as old as I look.
Daisy Age 7: I thought so. You don’t seem like an old person. Like my grandma.
Benjamin Button: I’m not.
Daisy Age 7: Are you sick?
Benjamin Button: Well, I heard Mama and Tizzy whispering. They said I was going to die soon, but maybe not.
Daisy Age 7: You’re odd. You’re different than anybody I’ve ever met.
Queenie: [to Benjamin] You are a different child. A man-child. And, baby, people aren’t going to understand just how different you are.
Mr. Daws:Did I ever tell you I’ve been struck by lightning seven times? Once when I was repairing a leak on the roof. Once I was just crossing the road to get the mail.
Caroline: [to Daisy] Mom? Did you get that this Benjamin loved you from the first time that he saw you? Not many people experience that.
Benjamin Button: As hard as I try, I can’t remember her name. Mrs. Lawson, or Mrs. Hartford. Maybe it was Maple. It’s funny how sometimes that people we remember the least make the greatest impression on us.
'Our lives are defined by opportunities. Even the ones we miss.' - Benjamin Button Click To Tweet
Mrs. Maple: [referring to playing the piano] It’s not about how well you play. It’s how you feel about what you’re playing.
Mr. Daws: Did I ever tell you I was struck by lightning seven times? Once when I was in the field, just tending to my cows.
Captain Mike: Can you still get it up?
Benjamin Button: I do every morning.
'There's something peaceful, even comforting knowing that the people you love are asleep in their beds where nothing can harm them.' - Benjamin Button Click To Tweet
Captain Mike: Wait a minute now. You mean to say, you’ve been on this earth however many years, and you’ve never had a woman? Damn, that’s the saddest thing I ever heard in my life. Never?
Benjamin Button: Nope.
Captain Mike: Then by Jesus, you are coming with me.
Captain Mike: [telling the story about his father] He says, “Who the hell do you think you are? What the hell do you think you can do?” So I tell him. “Well, if you’re asking, I want to be an artist.” He laughs. “An artist? God meant for you to work a tugboat, just like me. And that’s exactly what you’re going to do.” Well, I turned myself into an artist. A tattoo artist! I put on every one of these myself. You have to skin me alive to take my art away from me now. When I’m dead, I’m going to send him my arm. That one.
'You can be as mad as a dog at the way things went. You could swear, curse the fates. But when it comes to the end, you have to let go.' - Captain Mike (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) Click To Tweet
Captain Mike: [to Benjamin] Don’t let anyone tell you different. You got to do what you’re meant to do. And I happen to be a goddamned artist.
Benjamin Button: Well, I was born with some form of disease.
Thomas Button: What kind of disease?
Benjamin Button: I was born old.
Thomas Button: I’m sorry.
Benjamin Button: No need to be. There’s nothing wrong with old age.
'It's a funny thing about coming home. Looks the same, smells the same, feels the same. You realize what's changed is you.' - Benjamin Button Click To Tweet
Benjamin Button:[referring to Daisy] Growing up’s a funny thing. Sneaks up on you. One person is there, then suddenly somebody else has taken her place. She wasn’t all elbows and knees anymore.
Benjamin Button: What if I told you that I wasn’t getting older, but I was getting younger than everybody else?
Mrs. Maple: Well, I’d feel very sorry for you, to have to see everybody you love die before you do. That’s an awful responsibility.
Benjamin Button: I had never thought about life or death that way before.
'We're meant to lose the people we love. How else would we know how important they are to us.' - Mrs. Maple (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) Click To Tweet
Daisy Age 10: Where you going?
Benjamin Button: Off to sea. I’ll send you a postcard.
Daisy Age 10: From everywhere. Write me a postcard from everywhere.
Captain Mike: How is it when you showed up you were no bigger than a bollard with one foot in the grave, but now, either I drink a hell of a lot more than I think I do, or you sprouted? What’s your secret?
Benjamin Button: Well, Captain, you do drink a lot.
Benjamin Button: Her name was Elizabeth Abbott. She was not beautiful. She was plain as paper. But she was as pretty as any picture to me.
Elizabeth Abbott: My father, in his eighties, he was so convinced he was going to die in his sleep, he limited himself to having afternoon naps. He was so determined he was going to cheat death.
Benjamin Button: Did he?
Elizabeth Abbott: Did he what?
Benjamin Button: Die in his sleep?
Elizabeth Abbott: He died sitting in his favorite chair, listening to his favorite program on the wireless.
Benjamin Button: He must have known something.
Elizabeth Abbott: You haven’t been with many women, have you?
Benjamin Button: Not on Sundays.
Benjamin Button: [referring to Elizabeth] It was the first time a woman had ever kissed me. It’s something you never forget.
Benjamin Button: I think you make me feel younger.
Elizabeth Abbott: You make me feel years younger too. I wish I was. So many things I’d change. I’d undo all my mistakes.
Benjamin Button: What mistakes?
Elizabeth Abbott: I kept waiting, you know? Thinking that I’d do something to change my circumstances. Do something. Such an awful waste. You never get it back. Wasted time.
Elizabeth Abbott: [to Benjamin] If we’re going to have an affair, you’re never to look at me during the day. And we’re always to part by sunrise. And we will never say “I love you”. Those are the rules.
Benjamin Button: [referring to Elizabeth] She was the first woman that ever loved me.
Benjamin Button: [referring to Elizabeth] She had left a note. She wrote, “It was nice to have met you.” And that was it.
Queenie’s Daughter Age 14: Who is that, Mama?
Queenie: Child, it’s your brother, Benjamin.
Queenie’s Daughter Age 14: I didn’t know he was my brother.
Queenie: There’s a s**t load of things you don’t know, child.
Mr. Daws: Did I ever tell you I’ve been struck by lightning seven times? Once when I was sitting in my truck, just minding my own business.
Caroline: [from Benjamin’s diary] When I had left, she was a girl. And a woman had taken her place. She was the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen.
Caroline: The most beautiful.
Daisy: Or we could get a room somewhere. We could lay down your jacket.
Benjamin Button: I don’t know, Daisy. It’s not that I wouldn’t like to or anything. I think I’ll just disappoint you.
Daisy: Oh, Benjamin. I’ve been with older men.
Benjamin Button: You’re going back to New York in the morning. You should be with your friends. You’re only young once.
Benjamin Button: While everybody else was aging, I was getting younger, all alone.
Thomas Button: Benjamin, you’re my son. I’m so sorry I never told you before. You were born the night the Great War ended. Your mother died giving birth to you. I thought you were a monster. I promised your mother I’d make sure you were safe. I should never have abandoned you.
Mr. Daws: Did I ever tell you I was struck by lightning seven times? Once I was walking my dog down the road. I’m blinded in the one eye. Can’t hardly hear, get twitches and shakes out of nowhere. Always losing my line of thought. But you know what? God keeps reminding me I’m lucky to be alive. Storm’s coming.
Daisy: [after Benjamin visits her in New York] Now, I had no idea you were coming. Lord, Benjamin. What did you expect? What, you want me to drop everything? Now, this is my life.
Daisy: But Benjamin was never far from my thoughts. And I’d find myself saying, “Good night, Benjamin.”
Caroline: [from his diary] Good night, Daisy
Daisy: He said that?
Benjamin Button: Sometimes we’re on a collision course and we just don’t know it. Whether it’s by accident or by design, there’s not a thing we can do about it.
Benjamin Button: But, life being what it is, a series of intersecting lives and incidents out of anyone’s control, that taxi did not go by, and that driver was momentarily distracted. And that taxi hit Daisy. And her leg was crushed.
Daisy: [as Benjamin comes to visit her in hospital] My God. Look at you. You’re perfect. I wish you hadn’t come here. I don’t want you to see me like this.
Daisy: Don’t you understand? I don’t want your help. I know I’m feeling sorry for myself, but I don’t want to be with you. Tried to tell you that in New York. You don’t listen.
Benjamin Button: You might change your mind.
Daisy: We are not little children anymore, Benjamin. Just stay out of my life.
Daisy: [referring to Benjamin coming to see her in hospital] I was awfully cruel. He didn’t understand. I couldn’t have him see me like that.
Queenie: [as Daisy comes back to New Orleans] How come you didn’t write or nothing? Just disappearing like that.
Daisy: It was something I needed to do for myself.
Queenie: Yeah, well, I never took you to be the selfish type. I sure hope I’m not wrong. I’m usually not wrong about people.
Daisy: Sleep with me.
Benjamin Button: Absolutely.
Daisy: I am so glad we didn’t find one another when I was twenty-six.
Benjamin Button: Why do you say that?
Daisy: I was so young. And you were so old. It happened when it was supposed to happen.
Benjamin Button: I will enjoy each and every moment I have with you.
Daisy: What’s it like growing younger?
Benjamin Button: I can’t really say. I’m always looking out my own eyes.
Daisy: Will you still love me when my skin grows old and saggy?
Benjamin Button: Will you still love me when I have acne? When I wet the bed? When I’m afraid of what’s under the stairs?
Daisy: What? What are you thinking?
Benjamin Button: Well, I was thinking how nothing lasts. And what a shame that is.
Daisy: Some things last.
Benjamin Button: Goodnight Daisy.
Daisy: Goodnight Benjamin.
Daisy: I promise you I’ll never lose myself to self-pity again.
Benjamin Button: And I think, right there and then, she realized none of us is perfect forever. She found peace.
Daisy: I figure, you were born in 1918, forty-nine years ago. I’m forty-three. We are almost the same age. We’re meeting in the middle.
Benjamin Button: We finally caught up with each other. Wait. I want to remember us just as we are now.
Daisy: [after she’s told him she’s pregnant] I know you’re afraid.
Benjamin Button: I’m not hiding it.
Daisy: Okay. What’s your worst fear?
Benjamin Button: Baby born like me.
Daisy: Then I will love it all the more.
Benjamin Button: Okay. How can I be a father when I’m heading in the other direction? It’s not fair to a child. I don’t want to be anybody’s burden.
Benjamin Button: Sugar, we all end up in diapers.
Daisy: I want this, and I want it with you.
Benjamin Button: I want you to have everything you want, all of it. I’m just not sure how to reconcile this.
Daisy: Would you tell a blind man he couldn’t have children? You’ll be a father for as long as you can. I know the consequences. I’ve accepted that. Loving you is worth everything to me.
Elizabeth Abbott: [being interviewed for being the oldest woman to swim the English channel] I suppose anything is possible.
Caroline: [to Daisy, as she’s reading Benjamin’s letter to Daisy] This Benjamin was my father? And this is how you tell me?!
Benjamin Button: [referring to Caroline] You’re going to have to find a real father for her.
Daisy: What are you talking about?
Benjamin Button: She’s going to need someone to grow old with.
Daisy: She’ll learn to accept whatever happens. She loves you.
Benjamin Button: Honey, she needs a father, not a playmate.
Benjamin Button: I sold the summer house on Lake Pontchartrain, I sold Button’s Buttons, I sold my father’s sailboat. Put it all into a savings account. And so that you and your mother might have a life, I left, before you could ever remember me.
Caroline: [from Benjamin’s postcard] I wish I could have told you not to chase some boy. I wish I could have held you when you had a broken heart. I wish I could have been your father. Nothing I ever did will replace that.
Benjamin Button: [from his letter] For what it’s worth, it’s never too late, or, in my case, too early, to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit. Start whenever you want. You can change or stay the same. There are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. And I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. And if you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.
Benjamin Button: [referring to Caroline] She’s beautiful. Like her mother. Does she dance?
Daisy: Not very well.
Benjamin Button: I guess that’d be from my side of things.
Daisy: She’s a dear, sweet girl. She seems a little lost. But then, who isn’t at twelve. A lot of her reminds me of you.
Daisy: You are so much younger.
Benjamin Button: Only on the outside.
Daisy:You were right. I couldn’t have been raising both of you. I’m not that strong.
Daisy: Nothing lasts.
Benjamin Button: I have never stopped loving you.
Daisy: Oh, but, Benjamin, I’m an old woman now.
Benjamin Button: Some things you never forget.
Benjamin Age 8: It’s like there’s this whole life I had, and I can’t remember what it was.
Daisy: It’s okay. It’s okay to forget things.
Daisy: The days passed. And I watched as he forgot how to walk, and how to talk. In 2002, they put up a new clock in that train station. And in the spring of 2003, he looked at me and I knew that he knew who I was. And then he closed his eyes as if to go to sleep.
Caroline: I wish I’d known him.
Daisy: Now you do.
Benjamin Button: Some people are born to sit by a river. Some get struck by lightning. Some have an ear for music. Some are artists. Some swim. Some know buttons. Some know Shakespeare. Some are mothers. And some people dance.