Mark differences between the original story and film

Mark Twain’s quote helped F. Scott Fitzgerald to write his short story The Curious Case of Benjamin Button in 1922. The story has been recently made into a movie directed by David Fincher in 2008 with great success. There have been many movies made from books and short stories. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is an interesting example because of the very distinct differences between the original story and film but even though book and film differ in several ways, the main idea is still the same. The movie is a very far fetched depiction of the book, really the only consistent theme in both the movie and the book is Benjamin Button’s unusual, backwards aging process. In the short story, Benjamin Button was born in 1860 in a hospital in Baltimore. But not as a baby, he had the brainpower and physical appearance of an old man in his 80’s. Roger Button, Benjamin’s father, was part of a high class family and had difficulty accepting his son for who he was. Benjamin still lived a full life, just in a different kind of way. When Benjamin turned 20, and looked about 50, he met and fell in love with the daughter of General Moncrief, Hildegard. Six months later they got married and had a son named Roscoe. While Benjamin gets younger, Hildegard aged normally and Benjamin eventually lost interest in her. Benjamin fought in the Spanish American War when he was a young man, and when he gets back appears about   the same age as his son, Roscoe. Growing younger day by day, he attended Harvard University at the physical age of 18. After he graduated, he was young enough to go to high school, then he ended up hanging around with Roscoe’s son. He went to kindergarten then he grew too young for that too. As he grew younger and younger he lost the memory of his entire past life, then he closed his eyes for the last time. In the 2008 Film the story starts at the day when Hurricane Katrina hits New Orleans, LA in 2006 and Daisy Williams is in New Orleans hospital on her deathbed with her daughter, Caroline. Caroline sits with her and reads a diary she had from a man called Benjamin. Benjamin’s mother died during birth in 1918. He was unlike other babies, old and wrinkled, and Thomas Button, his father, afraid of his son, left him on the doorsteps of an assisted living home. Queenie took him in and raised him as her own. Benjamin, only a child mentally, soon realized that he physically grew younger as he got older. Early in his life, he meets Daisy, whose grandmother stayed in the home with Benjamin, but she goes on to live her life, and so does Benjamin. Every once and a while their lives crossed paths until they finally managed to make a life together, for however long they could. After Benjamin left Daisy with money to help raise their child, Daisy found another husband to be a Father to Caroline. Years after her husband passed, she gets a phone call from the elderly home where Benjamin lived. She went to see Benjamin, but by now, Benjamin is just a young boy. Daisy ends up moving into the home, and helping Benjamin struggle through his everyday life. Benjamin starts forgetting simple things,   then can no longer hold conversations, then he lost his speech altogether. Until finally he passes away, as a little harmless baby.One theme throughout the book is how a newborn baby, physically and mentally in his 80s, is accepted into society. Benjamin was born beneath social standards of that time, which in 1860, was very proper and sophisticated, anything out of the ordinary was frowned upon, especially for a high class family. It was not only the parents who were terrified of the situation, it seemed as if the entire hospital is scared of the Benjamin, setting the tone for the entire theme of the book. Roger wanted to keep the old age of Benjamin somewhat hidden and so he found an extra large boy’s suit, he cut off  his beard, dyed his hair brown, and managed to make him look only weird, but not freakish. Roger Button was determined to make him look more normal so that Benjamin was accepted more into society, because if he wasn’t it would affect Roger’s social status as well. Later on in the book Benjamin encountered more problems because of his condition. When he applied to Yale college at the age of 18, Benjamin was unable to conceal his physical age before a meeting, successfully getting him firmly denied. After he met Hildegard, he was forced to tell people lies like he was Roger’s brother. But not many people at all knew the whole truth, mainly because nobody believed it, not even his own wife. When Benjamin comes back from war, he is met by skepticism from Hildegard. She believed that he was just stubborn and could reverse his aging process but didn’t just to spite her, which infuriated her, eventually leading their split.   Similar to the short story, the film starts out with Benjamin being hard to accept, Thomas Button is eager to have this child, but his appearance is so shocking to Mr. Button that he takes the baby and runs, wanting to get rid of him. Benjamin’s father leaves him with 18 Dollars on the steps leading to an elderly home where Queenie, takes him in and raises him where he’s accepted right away because of his similar traits to the rest of the residents. Benjamin travels a lot throughout the movie, and when he’s not, he’s usually at home with Queenie. When he travels he doesn’t make deep relationships with many people, therefore fits in better because to any passing bystander, he looks like any other middle aged man. In the movie, the theme seemed to be contrasted by a secondary theme by the book of Nothing lasts forever. But the movie depicts a deeper meaning of some things do last forever, like love for one another. In the spring of 1962, Daisy and Benjamin meet again in New Orleans at the Elderly Home, where they both fall in love with each other instantly. The fact that Daisy is physically many years older than Benjamin doesn’t matter to them for a long time and they live happily in a suburb duplex. The reality of Benjamin’s condition resurfaced in his life after he and Daisy got Pregnant. Benjamin enjoyed his time with his newborn daughter while he could, but he knew he could not have Daisy raise both Benjamin and Caroline, so he left. Letting go the love of his life was by far the largest obstacle Benjamin overcame because of his backwards aging process. But following the movies theme, at the very end of the movie, when Daisy passes away during the hurricane, it shows floodwaters rushing in to a garage full of old equipment, and in the back, there sits the clock that hung in a train station for Benjamin’s entire life, still ticking. It  symbolizes that after everything both Daisy have been through, war, injuries, marriage, the birth of their child, and Benjamin leaving, their love still lives on, wherever they may be.While the themes of the book and movie differ greatly, the overarching message of the story of the man Benjamin Button, has to be a message of acceptance. Even though the book depicted a struggle to be accepted throughout Benjamin’s life, and the movie gave acceptance to Benjamin through Daisy and Queenie the condition that Benjamin has could not paint a different picture other than acceptance. F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote an extraordinary short story about life, hidden inside his literary camouflage, and David Fincher, with the help of new movie-making technology, did a great job bringing Benjamin to life.


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