I stood in line to see “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” when it opened at the Rave Theater on December 25. Quirky, funny, sad and sweet — with occasional sentimentality that I overlooked due to the very fine acting. A little bit “Big Fish,” a trace of “Forrest Gump.”
The movie is loosely based on a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald from his Tales of the Jazz Age collection. Very loosely based. Screenwriter Eric Roth took the idea of aging in reverse and ran with it. There’s not much else that resembles Fitzgerald’s work. (The movie’s leading female character is named Daisy, a nod to Fitzgerald’s Daisy Buchanan from his great novel The Great Gatsby.)
So, lest you think that seeing the movie counts as having read the story or having read Fitzgerald, think again. I like F. Scott Fitzgerald’s stories — “The Diamond as Big as the Ritz,” “Bernice Bobs Her Hair” and “Winter Dreams” are excellent, but I don’t think “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” is one of his strongest.
Do delve into his stories if you’ve never read them. Of course, if you’ve never read Fitzgerald at all, then go straight to The Great Gatsby — now. Fitzgerald’s sharp observations about people and class will never go out of style.
F Scott Fitzgerald