27 December 2008

Boomer Lens: Benjamin Button

Forrest Gump meets The Notebook. The most striking feature of Benjamin Button last night was the incredibly silent audience. They chuckled at the obvious invitations to laugh but otherwise sat in silence during the 2.75-hour adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's short story. (My movie partner commented that she read the book in less time than it would take to see the film. This, as we decided on toward-the-end location of our third-row seats in case either of us wanted to visit the ladies' room.)

Directly in front of us (that would be on the second row of the theatre), two young teenaged girls began the evening with excited chatter. My movie partner knew what I meant when I said, "Maybe tonight will be like Man in the Iron Mask." Anyone who knows me well has heard this story. It is my favorite movie-going experience.

In going to see Man in the Iron Mask in 1998, I went for the story. In my youth, I had read Dumas on Louis XIV. Three young girls sat a few rows ahead of me in an otherwise empty theatre and clearly could not resist having conversation during the movie. (I am the sort who patiently accepts people talking in movies, at plays, and even at concerts. That doesn't mean I like it but I accept it. I figure most people will grow out of the behavior. This describes my approach to people in general, actually.)

In that Iron Mask theatre, the girls' chatter was not constant. It even seemed to follow a pattern. Eventually, I understood: conversation ended whenever Leonardo Di Caprio was on screen, and resumed for every other scene.

So, would the girls at Benjamin Button have similar reaction to Brad Pitt? They did not. They were just as silent as the rest of the audience. Although one of them did use her cell phone during the movie. Twice. Texting.

Read Fitzgerald's original short story online. My movie partner read beforehand; I read afterward. Not reading the short story also works since you can prep with Forrest Gump.

© 2008 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. The content of this blog or related web sites created by Mary Bold (www.marybold.com, www.boldproductions.com, College Intern Blog) is not under any circumstances to be regarded as professional, legal, financial, or medical advice. Or education advice. Or marital advice. Or even a tip.

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