Nature of life and death


The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a film based off the short story written by F scott Fitzgerald. it is about a child who is born into a old mans body. As time moves forward Benjamin lives his life backwards, growing younger by the day. But despite aging backwards he still experience life with the same core milestones as a normal person, but his experiences are distorted to what we would perceive as normal. During benjamins life he has a terminal crush for a girl named daisy, sadly because their body clocks are heading in different directions they cant be together for the whole duration of benjamin’s life. While they are in the ‘golden period’ (when they appear to be the same age) they have a child. This child’s name is caroline. For several years the couple is happy but as their physical age gap grows they get torn apart. This film expresses the idea of the nature of life and how we all enter with this world alone and with nothing and leave this world alone and with nothing. But it is what we leave behind and the impact that we have made on others that matters. The scene in this film that best represents this idea is the final scene. This scene shows benjamin as a baby in his final years being cared for by his previous partner daisy. This is being narrated by Daisy in her final moments. This is then followed on by a montage of all the people who made a substantial impact on benjamins life.


Over the first part of the scene Daisy (while in her final moments) voices over the scene explaining what happened in benjamins final years of his life. She is voicing over the scene because as benjamin gets younger he forgets how to write, read and talk. This is because as his brain goes backwards he forgets how to do these simple tasks. So in this scene as daisy describes what they did together her voice portrays a shaky and sad tone that gives off a feeling of loneliness. This is her tone of voice because it lets us know not only that she is near death but also that she is still heartbroken over the loss of benjamin from her life. This ties into the nature of life because daisy is leaving this world lonely without benjamin and alone just as she would have came into this world. Right before daisy dies her voice becomes less shaky and she says the word “benjamin” the reason why the director made her voice become less strained while saying this word is express how she is grateful for the time that they had together and thankful for the memories of benjamin that she be able to keep forever.


While benjamin was in his final years daisy cared for him they did activities such as walking in the autumn, reading bedtime stories, and playing with toys. All these activities are something that you would tend to do with your child and you would remember as a happy experience, but the music played over these scenes has a sad and solemn tone. The reason for this is to express that how both benjamin and daisy have come to realize the the end of their lives are glooming, and they have this time to reflect about all the wasted time between them. But at the end of this scene it shows a montage of all the important people in benjamin’s life and in this scene the music transitions into a more perky happy tone. He reason why the director would do this is to point out that there wasn’t only wasted time but also so many happy memories and stories that have been created this directly links to the nature of life because even though both benjamin and daisy’s time is almost up the stories that they have left behind and the memories that they have made will live on longer than the both of them and these memories and stories will be their legacy.


In the scene where benjamins dies the lighting in the scene is low key (half of their faces dark and half of their faces light)  with benjamins face completely dark with only the rim of his face being lit up. this gives of a rather gloomy effect as if something is lurking in the shadows. This is because death is looming on benjamin. Once benjamin passes away daisy covers his head in the blanket that caresses him. This then in turn completely shields his face from the sunlight and covers him in shadows. this is a direct link to death and when the light gets removed from his face he is consumed by the shadow and therefore lifeless. And from when benjamin gets covered his body is unlikely to see sunlight again because he will then be moved to a mortgage with no natural light and then buried underground where there is also no light. By using this technique the director is trying to express how death is always looming and once a human is consumed by death there is no coming back.


In the extract of the last scene where it shows the backwards clock in the basement ticking away unseen by the world. The director makes sure that the audience hears the ticking noise in the final scene to let us know even though it’s gone time still moves forward. It also lets us know that the clock still has a purpose in keeping the time despite being unseen by the world. This expresses how even in death time moves on without us and we will be left behind, but in a way we live on through stories and on through people whom we have influenced, just as the clock is remembered by those who have seen it day after day while they take the train. This links to benjamin because even though he is gone he will always be a big part of Daisies, and Caroline’s life. So in a way he is alive through the memories that others have of him. This is the nature of life and how time will leave us behind but it’s what we do while we are here that makes us live on once we pass.


The reason why both the author (F. Scott Fitzgerald) and the director (David Fincher) valued the idea of expressing the nature of life through both film and book is because this message is not only relevant to all humans because death is all where we are heading, but also because it forces us to self reflect about how we will be remembered by those around us. And through the process of self reflection we can improve on our morals and our beliefs. Another reason why the nature of life was expressed in this film and book is because it make us realize the bitter sweet gift of life and how we are all born to inevitably die. This makes us value the small amount of time we have here on the important things such as family friends and having fun.


In conclusion the inevitability of time is represented in this film though the directors purposeful use of film techniques to give us 4 key messages that express the idea of the inevitability of time. The four key messages that the director wants the audience to take away from this film is to be grateful for the time we share with one another, our stories and memories become our legacy once we leave, death is always looming, and finally it’s our actions that enable us to live on once we pass. All these messages point to the fact that we enter this world alone and leave it the same way.

One Comment

  1. Campbell,

    A good start. I like how you have communicated your thoughts about the ‘nature of life’.

    • You are missing something from your introduction- can you spot it? Remember, an introduction should prepare your audience for what they are read about.
    • Remember to not only describe how the technique is used but also what you think the director is trying to achieve by using that technique and how that technique, used in the specific way you have described, communicates something about your central idea.

    • You have some grammar and punctuation errors in this piece. Read your work out loud to find and fix them.

    Mrs. P


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