Film vs. Short Story Analysis– The Curious Case of Benjamin Button In reviewing the Paramount film adaptation of The Curious of Benjamin Button, directed by David Fincher and screenplay by Eric Roth, with the original story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, one may conclude that there are more differences than there are similarities. The film version does maintain the main premise of the story, in that, it tells the tale of a man born old that grew up to be young, a story on aging. I will attempt to provide you with my view of the two mediums regarding their characters, settings and elements in the film that enhance or distract from the story. First, let’s review the characters in the main story, of which there are few in the literary story numbering about 17, where the film contains over 50 characters plus the extras. We will stick with core characters of the film and start with the main character, Benjamin Button, who was born old and aged to his youth that was portrayed by Brad Pitt in the movie. The story version of Benjamin has more humor about him whereas the movie version was more of a romantic with only rare glimpses of the humor that is portrayed in the original story. An example of the humor found in the story is when Benjamin was born his father needed to get him home but the hospital only supplied a blanket. So the father was forced to run and get him men’s clothing, when he was leaving to go shop for his son Benjamin shouts out as he leaves, “And a can, father. I want to have a cane.” (Fitzgerald p.163) I had to chuckle because how does he know he needs this, he was just born. Though both versions were old men that grew up to be young men, their starts were very different. The film portrayed Benjamin as a baby that was aged like an old man but in relevant size, whereas the story had Benjamin the size of an old adult. Again, the humor of a woman being able to carry a child of that size is just absurd. The men grow up to work but the two versions are quite stark in contrast, the literary version takes over his father’s business, whereas the film version is content being a tugboat captain up to the point when he inherits his father’s fortune. It is not really known if Benjamin runs the button business or if he just lives off the profits, we only know that he sells it later in the future to provide a living for his child. The literary Benjamin works the family business until he passes it to his son. And the final difference between the two Benjamin’s is that the film version had a daughter, named Caroline, where the literary version had a son, named Roscoe. Next let’s review the parents of the story, first we have his father, who is named Roger Button in the literary score and Thomas Button in the film adaptation. There are little similarities here, for the fact that his last name was button, he owned a business and he was Benjamin’s father. Other than that the film adaptation creates a completely different father for Benjamin. As I said in the beginning of this paragraph, his first name was different and though he owned a business in both versions, the film father owned a button factory, where as the literary father owned a wholesale hardware company. The literary father actually brought Benjamin home and raised him; the film version dumped his child on the stoop of an old folk’s home and only got to know his son much later in life. It is only when he sees Benjamin in the brothel that he attempts to make contact out of pure curiosity and does not reveal himself to Benjamin until later when he is dying. The literary father is often cruel and distant to the young Benjamin, forcing him to act as a child when he clearly was like an adult. Both men were cruel in their actions, but the literary father was at least present throughout his life. Benjamin’s mother is vastly different as well, the literary version whose name is unknown is only mentioned in the story that she gave birth to him and then we never hear...
Cited: Fitzgerald, F. Scott. “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” The Short Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald (Handout). Collier’s. 27 May 1922.
Fincher, D., Roth, E. & Swicord, R. “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” Paramount Pictures. 2008. Viewed November 7, 2010.
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