It turns out that the original short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald and the film in 2008 is quite different. Rather than saying I am not sure which one I like more, I would say they are very different except that Benjamin Button in both occasions was born old and died young.

Spoiler Alert for both the story and film! Be aware. The_Curious_Case_of_Benjamin_Button_and_Other_Jazz_Age_Stories_cover

Fitzgerald’s story is realistic compared to the romance in the film. I wasn’t as sad to finish the book than the film though. Studying journalism has allowed to see more of the realistic society. It’s not perfect. People always judge by the cover, though they say they don’t. This is what exactly happened in both the books and film.

Since two versions took place in different time of the society, there were a lot of potential social and historic issues to be discussed. For instance, in the film, Benjamin was born in 1918 when World War I ended in a wealthy and socially high ranked family. He was left at a senior home and raised by an African American nurse? Could this be racist that Thomas Button disliked his child so much that he left him to Queenie?

In late 1800s and early 1900s when Benjamin was growing up, it was a society where people outweighed others’ opinions on them and couldn’t care less for who they really were and what they truly enjoyed. Benjamin and Hildegrade’s romance ended as her unhappiness with his backward growth. Well, Benjamin in the book didn’t have Daisy from the film, after all.

The message from the book I received was that Benjamin was quite a strong character. After one abandoned him, he moved on to another. His discontent drove him to join the army. After the army, he still wasn’t happy. He took on Golf and played very well. He went to Harvard.

Both version reminded me of a line from Prime, a romance comedy:

Sometimes you love, you learn, and you… move on.

Below are the differences I found from the book and film.

At Birth

  • Benjamin’s mother did not die from giving birth (book) VS she died in the film and asked the father to find him home
  • Benjamin’s father is Roger Button VS Thomas Button

    Image Source

    Image from the Internet

  • Story happened in Baltimore VS New Orleans
  • Benjamin was born a talking old man VS a crying elderly baby
  • Benjamin wasn’t abandoned at birth VS he was left in a local nursing home
  • Benjamin was born in September, 1860 VS November 11, 1918

Romantic Relationship, not really

  • Benjamin met Hildegrade at a dance at 22 VS Daisy at 6 at the nursing home
  • Hildegrade was the daughter of General Monrief VS a professional dancer
  • They were engaged six months afterwards and got married VS they never married in the movie!
  • Benjamin and Hildegrade had a son called Roscoe VS a daughter named Caroline
  • “Hildegrade had ceased to attract Benjamin” VS Benjamin had always loved Daisy (I guess the book is more realistic)
  • Hildegrade did not appreciate Benjamin’s backward and youthful growth VS Daisy’s affection for Benjamin
  • Hildegrade moved and resided in Italy VS Daisy living in the nursing home with infant Benjamim

Career

  • Benjamin Button had been working for the family business (Roger Button & Co.) since 22 VS he’s been a boatman
  • Benjamin joined the army in 1898 at the outbreak of Spanish-American War VS he didn’t just happen to be at the battle with a German submarine
  • He attended Harvard VS he was taught by some boatmen
  • Benjamin took up different hobbies like Golf VS travelled around the world in 1970s

Family, but more of himself

  • Roscoe was never a fan of Benjamin Button VS Caroline didn’t learn about Benjamin until Daisy was dying
  • Roscoe’s first child was born in 1920 when Benjamin appeared to be 10 year old VS Caroline didn’t remember Benjamin appearing in her early childhood
  • Roscoe wanted Benjamin to call him uncle when there were visitors because Roscoe was embarrassed by Benjamin and thought Benjamin refused to look accordingly to his real age
  • Benjamin and the little boy (his grandchild) attended kindergarten but stay on in the kindergarten while his grandchild moved up to elementary school; he was eventually removed from kindergarten and being taken care of at home by a nurse called Nana

Have you seen the film or read the book? What do you think of them? Let me know by leaving a comment. I would like to know.

 

Yet, until next time, happy blogging, happy sharing. 

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3 thoughts on “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: Short story VS Film

  1. Interesting comparison! I saw the movie years ago, but never read the book (I heard from many sources that it was very different). Did you like the book or movie more, or were they so different that you didn’t really like one more than the other?

    • I like both from different perspective. The movie is very romantic. I am glad that screen writer didn’t insist Daisy or Benjamin to stay with each other. Otherwise it’d be very unrealistically romantic. But the affection was very moving.

      The book is more subtle, and its message is very hidden. So you can interpret the book any way you want, which I like. You can argue Hildegrade was cruel to dislike Benjamin’s nature. But you can’t hate her for this because when we commit into a relationship, we expect the other grow old with us. It was 1800s and early 1900s, do you really expect people to have an open mind to accept the “curious case”? This is also why Roscoe was embarrassed by Benjamin, in my opinion.

      • I agree with that part in the movie, it was definitely very romantic and I liked that a lot.

        Makes sense about the book and also about the marriage. Plus, Fitzgerald wasn’t exactly… nice to his characters (COUGHgreatgatsbyCOUGH). Maybe I will have to check out the book :)

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