Based on a rather slender story at a mere 25 pages by F. Scott Fitzgerald, essentially tells the story of a man that ages in reverse but in the hands of Eric Roth and David Fincher becomes something far beyond this original premise. Not only that but it develops into over two and a half hours of film which some could find trying in itself. The film thankfully overcomes this by investigating the multi-faceted nature of love and the nature of loss in a way that never forces itself or imposes any conceived notions on the audience.
Building on the techniques used in other movies to show the aging of the central cast in a way that is so subtle and yet dazzling that it never overshadows the acting and emotions portrayed in each scene, more so heightening the intensity and easy-going cajun nature of the piece overall.
Due to the process in which Benjamin ages, he is never what he appears to be; he is young and old at once and thus he retains a detachment that is undoubtedly necessary in order to live such a life to the fullest. More than once, this trait can come off more as defensive rather than merely elusive but Pitt manages to reel in these scenes through the nuances of emotions expressed solely through his eyes.
The emotional epicenter of the piece is centered on Blanchett in the role of Daisy, who has Benjamin’s personal diary read to her by her daughter during the onslaught of Hurricane Katrina. It is perhaps Fincher’s greatest skill as a director that he can turn such a conceit of real-life misery that the movie otherwise tried to avoid, into a device able to evoke the full feeling of the two character’s relationship. Blanchett’s usual powerhouse acting provides the heat and intensity that Benjamin is unable to verbalise fully and saves this from becoming a vanity piece of sorts for the rest of the players involved.
Like with all movies, their love endures and yet is fated to end. But for the first time in a long time, I felt a passion for a film that I haven’t had since discovering Woody’s Annie Hall as a tween and thus I am nothing short of happy to have seen it and was sorry to see it end.