Today’s Brain Stumper

Q: Why was The Curious Case of Benjamin Button so dull?

A (with spoilers): I can’t quite figure it out. It has to have had something to do with B.B.’s growing younger and not older, and that like while we know it won’t be easy for him, it makes his life get progressively easier, right? So any hardships along the way can just be waited out until he gets healthier and better looking?

I think also there was a poor POV choice made on either Fitzgerald’s part or the screenwriters’. Imagine this story: a young woman has something mysterious happen to her parents that forces her to live much of her girlhood with his grandmother at some weird old-timey group home in New Orleans, where she meets one of the old men who claims he’s actually a boy as old as she is. Ha!

Then when she’s a teenager this manboy up and leaves the home for mysterious reasons, though he offers to write the young girl everywhere he goes. Which he does. The girl grows up and decides she wants to be a ballerina, and even gets to dance at the New York Ballet Academy or whatever it is, all the while getting these postcards every couple months.

She dances for Balanchine!

Then her grandmother dies, alas, and she heads to the home in New Orleans to collect her things, and there is the manboy she knew when she was a girl, but he looks younger and not older, and is actually getting to be handsome. But no she can’t possibly date him.

She dances for the Bolshoi!

Eventually she has a kid with this man who is getting younger, who will be their daughter’s age when their daughter is old enough to wonder about her father. What does she say to such a daughter?

The problems are much more real and interesting, right? Isn’t her story so much less forecasted by the central implausibility?

Tomorrow’s question: Why was The Curious Case of Benjamin Button so long?

(And if there’s time: Why did this movie spanning an entire life feel so less full of life and the bigness of life than, say, Synecdoche, New York?)

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