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Movie Review: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
By Christy Lemire, AP Movie Critic

It's the damnedest thing. You look into the elderly man's blue eyes behind a pair of old-fashioned spectacles, look at the sweet smile ringed by wrinkles, and you know that's Brad Pitt under there. But the special effects are so dazzling, and Pitt's performance is so gracefully convincing, that you can't help but be repeatedly wowed.

Director David Fincher has always proven himself a virtuoso visual stylist—to the point of seeming like a shameless showoff at times—with films like ``Fight Club,'' ``Panic Room'' and ``Zodiac.''

Brad Pitt

But here, he's truly outdone himself: He's made a grand, old-fashioned epic that takes mind-boggling advantage of the most modern moviemaking technology. Fincher's film, based on an F. Scott Fitzgerald short story about a man who ages in reverse, is rambling and gorgeous—perhaps a bit overlong and gooey in the midsection—but still, one that leaves you with a lingering wistfulness.

Pitt, as the title character, travels the world and lives a life that's adventurous and full, but he can never truly be with the woman he loves, Daisy (Cate Blanchett), whom he met when she was just a little girl and he was a boy trapped in an old man's body.

Eric Roth's script may seem naggingly similar to that of ``Forrest Gump”—which he also happened to write—but it seems more concerned with the transformational power of true love than the gimmickry of an unusual existence.

PG-13 for brief war violence, sexual content, language and smoking. 167 min. Three and a half stars out of four.







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