Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Goodnight, Benjamin!

Those were the last words of Daisy (Cate Blanchett) in the movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008). I can't help myself but cry while her soul departs her body during the hurricane. I believe that her unconditional love towards Benjamin (Brad Pitt) was finally rewarded through death, in which she can spend the eternity with him-- forever.
More often than not, we always see movies that projects the "conquering" of death through love-- of how the lovers successfully fulfilled their solemnly sworn "Till death do us part". However, by emphasizing the peculiar case of Benjamin Button's growing younger, the movie gave a new meaning in immortalizing love beyond the limits of life and death by elimination of the bias of age.
Based on F. Scott Fitzgerald's short story of the same title, the story tackles the journey of Benjamin Button on growing in reverse: that is, from an arthritis-bed-ridden old "baby" up to his juvenile "dawn of life". Benjamin's conflict was highlighted by the love story between him and Daisy. The story progresses by emphasizing friendship, family, difficulties of long-distance relationship, fidelity and faith, and life and death. As Benjamin himself narrates every minute of his life through his diary, the story goes on with revealing points of clarification and of understanding in Daisy's and as well as Caroline's (their child with whom Daisy hid the truth that Benjamin was her father) characters.
After many years of living their separate lives as a ballet dancer and a sailor, Daisy and Benjamin finally settled as a couple once they meet at the exact same age. Realizing that the succeeding years they will separate in terms of aging, Benjamin becomes afraid of tearing Daisy's heart apart because of his condition. After their daughter celebrated her first birthday, Benjamin secretly left the mother-and-daughter pair "secretly" late at night in order to liberate Daisy from him while leaving her a chance to find "a father for their child".
Years passed, Benjamin traveled while Daisy became a private baller instructor and had his new husband. Benjamin revisited Daisy on her ballet studio with the same age as their daughter. Afterwards, they made love with each other for the last time before Benjamin become a little boy.
Years passed and a call from the home for the aged was sent to Daisy regarding about a boy who suffered from dementia and does not remember who he is. Later, it was revealed that the boy itself was Benjamin and Daisy took charge on caring for him not as a wife, but now, as a mother. Sooner, Benjamin "grew up" into a small little boy and died looking directly to Old Daisy's eyes.
It is sad of how life cheats unto the life of everyone, of how it suppresses the life of a true-lover. However, in the constant scourges brought forth by life, there is love that gives color and calmness to it. Daisy's condition was so hard that she had still love Benjamin for the rest of his life even though his memories deteriorated. Both of them were given justice and thus given eternity to spend with each other. Daisy and Benjamin just danced their own real-life pas de deux and thus were given aces after their final bow.
Heart-warming, touching and inspiring, the movie gives light to how people are differentiated in living life yet nevertheless bounded by a force that will enable them to live harmoniously and that force was LOVE.

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