Let me introduce this half-baked thought about the reception of "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." Lots of critics have compared it rightly to "Forrest Gump," for screenwriter Eric Roth adapted both. (For some food for thought, check out the review that LaMovBlog super-reader Chris Jay pimped in the previous post.) While "Button" and "Gump" are great companion pieces, the stories come from different eras and paint their heroes with wildly different brushes.
Right now, I’m thinking about “Benjamin Button” as the anti-Gump. Pitt’s Button is very ordinary, stone-faced, melancholic and good-lookin’. (Perhaps Pitt is doing his best Keanu Reeves impression.) Never really accomplishes anything. Witnesses history but never takes part in it. Loves and always loses. In the end, a lost man. A poor man. Perennial loser.
Not like Hanks’ everyman, who was extraordinarily ordinary, innocent, funny, accidentally heroic and kinda homely. Loves, loses but endures. In the end, a happy man. Stinking rich. An agent of renewal.
I think critics are defining their ideal heroes when they compare Button and Gump. If more favor Gump, then it supports my pet theory about Hollywood heroes: Losers never win.
Who has more to say about who we are? Which movie do you like better? Or do you, like this critic, loathe both?