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Bridging age gap

PUBLISHED: 15:54 11 February 2009 | UPDATED: 10:26 23 August 2010

LOOSELY based on a 1922 F Scott Fitzgerald short story, David Fincher s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is an unconventional but affecting meditation on fate, coincidence and the human condition.

LOOSELY based on a 1922 F Scott Fitzgerald short story, David Fincher's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is an unconventional but affecting meditation on fate, coincidence and the human condition.

The film starts in New Orleans in 2005, around the time of the arrival of Hurricane Katrina. Caroline (Julia Ormand) is looking after her 80-year-old mother Daisy (Cate Blanchett), who is lying on her deathbed. To pass the time, Caroline begins reading from a diary written by Benjamin Button (Brad Pitt), an intriguing figure from her mother's past.

It is clear straight away that Benjamin was no ordinary human being. He was born in 1918, the size of a regular baby but with the body of an old man.

The birth killed his mother and, unable to cope with such a ghastly-looking child, his father Thomas (Jason Flemyng) abandoned him on the steps of a nursing home. He was found by Queenie (Taraji Henson), who raised him as her own. Rather than growing old it soon became clear that Benjamin's body was getting younger as the years passed.

He first met Daisy when she was 13 and, while the two went their separate ways, they vowed to stay in touch and it wasn't long before their paths crossed again.

Although several actors play Benjamin's body at various stages in his life Brad Pitt's head has been digitally blue-screened on to each one, adding a bizarre consistency to the character.

Pitt handles the challenge of the role well but at times it is difficult to remember that he is playing an old soul in a young body or vice versa.

The central conceit may be a little too quirky for some but for those willing to make the necessary imaginative leap the film makes for thought-provoking viewing.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is out in cinemas now.

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