Christmas, a time for reunions — at the movies.

Christmas, a time for reunions — at the movies. December 27, 2008

Now that it is out there in theatres, I can openly state that it was The Curious Case of Benjamin Button that had such a profound emotional effect on me three weeks ago.

The funny thing is, it was only the last half-hour that did this to me. The first two hours left me cold — partly because the title character, played by Brad Pitt, is such a passive guy, and partly because I never quite got a sense of the humanity behind all the special effects, and partly because the screenplay really is full of the sort of banal aphorisms that Glenn Kenny itemized here. But the final half-hour still got to me, and on a deeper level than most films do, so who knows, maybe the first two hours were a success, inasmuch as they set things up the way they were supposed to. Maybe a second viewing will clear things up.

In the meantime, it strikes me that there are quite a few reunions in this film. It brings together a number of people who have worked with Pitt before, including:

  1. David Fincher — Pitt’s director on Se7en (1995) and Fight Club (1999)
  2. Cate Blanchett and Elle Fanning — Pitt’s co-stars in Babel (2006)
  3. Julia Ormond — Pitt’s co-star in Legends of the Fall (1994)
  4. Tilda Swinton — Pitt’s co-star in Burn after Reading
  5. Jason Flemyng — Pitt’s co-star in Snatch. (2000)
  6. Jared Harris — Pitt’s co-star in Ocean’s Twelve (2004)

This gets me thinking about the other high profile reunions that are currently gracing the big screen. Revolutionary Road, for example, re-unites Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet and Kathy Bates — all of whom co-starred in Titanic (1997). And Valkyrie re-unites director Bryan Singer and screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie — both of whom got their start by collaborating on Public Access (1993) and The Usual Suspects (1994).

Are there any other examples of that this season?

I suppose Bedtime Stories might count, since it features many of Adam Sandler’s frequent collaborators, but that seems, to me, less like a “reunion” and more like the ongoing activity of a “stock company”. There needs to be more of a gap between the current film and the last film that brought at least some of these people together if it is to be considered a “reunion”, I think.

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