I don’t do death. I’ve spent my entire life blocking out the fact that death happens. But yesterday I learned that my most dearly beloved – the sweet and loyal and gentle Finley Dogchild – has a tumour the size of an orange growing between the muscles of her right thigh. It’s not going to kill her, but the effects of it are ageing her rapidly and quite alarmingly. She’s gone from running girl to little old lady before my eyes.
Under the circumstance, it was therefore probably unwise of me, to accept an invitation to The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, the CGI tale starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, featuring a man who ages and dies backwards. Born an arthritic little old man, the kindly Benjamin youthens (?) as he ages, a fact that somewhat understandably causes complications in his relationship with the beautiful ballerina Daisy. It’s going to end badly – and you’ve got 166 minutes to wait for it to happen.
Yes, Benjamin Button is a really long movie about death, and a lot of the scenes seem purely extraneous to the story itself. It’s beautifully made, with a richly realised period design that’s got a Moulin Rouge kind of feel to it. But while it is undoubtedly poignant, it ultimately feels soulless. I woke up this morning, feeling that somehow I’d be cheated.