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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie's unique premise is ultimately used to convey messages about the flexible nature of family, the importance of approaching life with curiosity and enthusiasm, and the joys -- and pains -- of true love.
Positive Role Models
Because of his unusual upbringing and unconventional family, Benjamin grows up with much compassion. He's also very curious about the world and the people in it. He and Daisy have a rocky relationship, but it's clear that they care deeply about each other. A man abandons his baby on the steps of a nursing home, but a young woman rescues the baby and raises him. Some characters tease the child for his condition, but for the most part, people are kind and accepting.
Violence & Scariness
A tugboat happens upon a battle at sea. Dead bodies are everywhere, with the water bloody from the corpses; the enemy fires at it. The captain is shot, and blood oozes from his chest. Some characters fire guns; there are also loud arguments.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A man stands in his skivvies in front of a mirror. Some non-explicit scenes of a couple making love; in one segment, they appear to be naked under a sheet. A boy, who looks like an old man, visits a brothel filled with scantily clad women. After some time alone with a woman (not shown on screen), he appears to have enjoyed himself thoroughly. Lovers kiss passionately. A young woman discusses having casual sex.
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Some cursing, including "bastard," "goddamn," "ass,""s--tless," and, infrequently, "f--k."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some drinking, a few times to the point of inebriation. A kid, albeit one who looks older, gets drunk. Some smoking (mostly era-accurate).
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this moving, memorable film is a compelling exploration of life, death, and the enduring power of love. Despite such weighty subjects, older teens -- whose interest may initially be piqued by star Brad Pitt -- will likely find it engrossing, and even touching. Younger viewers, on the other hand, could be overwhelmed by the mature themes. Expect some sexual innuendo and nonexplicit clinches, swearing (including infrequent use of "f--k"), a sequence that includes a bit of bloody violence, and period-accurate smoking and drinking. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON, based on a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, has a compelling, haunting plot. Watching it is an emotional experience, despite it's meandering pace (it could have -- should have -- been made leaner to make it even stronger). Director David Fincher, collaborating with Pitt for the third time, takes advantage of technological wizardry to move the story forward without letting the tricks overwhelm the story. This isn't a film that stands on the shoulders of special-effects gimmickry.
Like the Oscar-winning Forrest Gump (which also broke ground with its techno wizardry), Benjamin Button has a living, beating heart. A wistful awareness of mortality, and of the clock ticking ceaselessly toward an inevitable end, looms over everything. Benjamin is a splendidly written character, and Pitt plays him tenderly, juggling melancholy and hope, sometimes all at once. And Blanchett is the perfect complement; a tempest who finds her way with grace. Their affair makes for an extraordinary love story.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.