Saturday, May 26, 2012

Musings on Cate Blanchett in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button


David Fincher has made many movies in his time. The majority of them are dark, serial killer themed films, like Se7en, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Zodiac. He's made a movie about Facebook. He's also made a romantic drama about a man who ages backwards. If there's anything out of the ordinary in Fincher's filmography, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is it. Many people tend to overlook this film which doesn't go as dark as the rest of what he has to offer, but this film, which was the first work of Fincher's that I ever saw, is one of my favourites of all-time.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a film that I'd like to think of as a 'future classic'. In it's day, many dismissed it as being too long (and at nearly three hours, it is a bit of a stretch for the attention deprived people of today), a piece of Oscar bait (it certainly gives off that impression) or just plain boring. The thing about Benjamin Button is that it isn't like many of the other films in recent memory. Barely anyone does 'life' movies like this anymore, mainly because of today's attention deprived market who don't make a lot of room to see someone live out their life in a movie. These glossy, 'warm' looking period pieces are also in short supply, as anything set around the 1930's/1940's tends to be focused on war or gangsters. The film just feels like it could have been from another time, but I can't quite put my finger on what time that might be. Yes, it could indeed be a film from the past, but it also feels groomed for the future. Which is what makes it such a strange, yet wonderful film.

One of the things I love most about Benjamin Button, though, is Cate Blanchett's wonderful work as Daisy, who falls in love with the titular character while he is old and she is young. It's a tough ask to have both she and Brad Pitt play their characters at so many different points in their lives, especially keeping continuity in mind, but they do phenomenal work. However, since the very first time I saw this film, I fell in love with Cate. Throughout the rest of 2009, if I ever had the desire to watch this film again (which was all the time), it was because of her. It's hard to put my finger on exactly why I love her so much in this film.

Maybe it is because of the ethereal beauty of her crossing the street before she gets hit by a car, therefore crushing her dancing dreams...


Or when she comes back to see Benjamin in her 20's, filled with youth, naivety and beauty, contrasting with Benjamin's current situation...


The look on her face when she receives a postcard from Benjamin saying that he has found someone...


The way she treats Benjamin when he comes to watch her dance...


When Benjamin comes to visit her in hospital and she turns him away...


Her careful treatment of Benjamin when he is 'young'...


The scene where she tries to dance again...


All of her scenes as the ailing Daisy...


And this moment...


I'll never be able to realise exactly what it is about Cate's performance in this film that thrills me so. There are just so many things about it that make me want to go back to this film over and over again. Like the film, she's a timeless actress - certainly one of the most talented that I've seen in my lifetime.

What is it that you love about Cate Blanchett? (this has been a post for the LAMB's Acting School 101)

16 comments:

  1. I don't love this movie, but I seem to be one of the limited number of people who like it. It's alright, and I agree Blanchett is the best part of it.

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    1. There is a limited number of people who like it :( Blanchett is the best part of it, indeed.

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  2. Not my favourite Fincher but there is a lot of astounding competition for that title. I remember a lot of comparisons to Forrest Gump at the time of its release and I always thought Blanchett just kind of gets a slightly duller version of the 'Jenny' character in that movie. She's great as always but I didn't enjoy the character as much as you did. You've made me want to check the film out again though so great post!

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    1. There is a lot of competition for that title. I have a hard enough time picking between The Social Network and Fight Club.

      Yeah, the Jenny comparison is apt. I can't say who I'd pick to be my best friend: Jenny or Daisy.

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  3. I do like this movie a lot but to me the most out of ordinary in Fincher's filmography is "Alien 3". Not really surprising since Fincher himself said there were a lot of executive involvement in that film and that he didn't get to execute his vision.

    Its also interesting that Brad Pitt has worked 3 times with him because although Fincher is a great director it can be very frustrating working with him. The guy is famous for doing multiple shoots/take for every single scene' sometimes up to 70 takes per scene. Mark Ruffalo once said at times he almost wished Fincher would fire him.

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    1. I've heard how Fincher is like that. Did you know he did 99 takes of the opening scene to The Social Network, which is like 10 pages long. That's insane. Still, if he got what he wanted, that's great.

      I didn't hear about Mark Ruffalo, though. Sounds like Zodiac was a tough shoot. I heard that Jake Gyllenhaal had a falling out with him over something, but I can't remember what that was.

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  4. My favourite actress. My favourite movie. Cate is fantastic as Daisy. I love her in all ages.

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  5. Great post! I love this film so much, all the actors do splendind job and Blanchett delivers a lovely, very human performance as Daisy.

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  6. I can't believe there are people who don't like this movie! It is so incredibly close to perfect.
    You've managed to capture some of the most beautiful and moving aspects of Daisy's character - love the movie, love the post :).

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    1. Thanks! And yes, this movie is so incredibly close to perfect. I love it.

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  7. I actually loved this movie, and I agree, Blanchett was perfection in it. My favorite is the night dancing scene, and I know she isn't actually dancing in it, but still, everything looks amazing there.

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    1. The night dancing scene is wonderful. I'm like, eternally in love with that scene.

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  8. Beautiful post and I love this film to bits.

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You mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling.

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