To illustrate the point “aging and the elderly”, the film mentions the character Benjamin who was born at the time America won World War 1. There are three main points to illustrate that point: infrastructure, culture and idea.
The beginning of the film happens during the 10s; the time of the traditional American society. Specifically, Benjamin’s mother gave birth to him at the night when the American celebrated the victory of their nation. Unfortunately, she had died before she could see her child. When Mr. Button (Benjamin’s father) got home, his family doctor sadly announced that his wife had passed away and his son had suffered “something”. He pushed the doctor aside and took his son, and then he realized his son’s appearance wasn’t like human. It looked like the appearance of 80-year-old men. He screamed, he shouted, he cried, he cursed the life desperately. He took Benjamin and ran; finally, he put Benjamin on the door step of the nursing house with a small change. We don’t know why such a wealthy man like Mr. Button could be selfish like that. Did he afraid that he couldn’t have enough money to raise Benjamin – Of course not. Did he scare the appearance of him? Or He just get shocked by his wife’s death? Or another reasons? By analyzing the society when Benjamin grew up, we could find the answer. Now, we come back to live of Benjamin. During his childhood, Benjamin lived in a nursing house that lacked many facilities. In the nursing house, there was just one piano for the old pianist women to entertain. Besides, the rooms and hall were so small for many old men to have their own privacy. At night, people sat on the wheelchair in front of the doorstep and meditated their past. A kid like Benjamin couldn’t stand that boring life, he tried to move his wheelchair to outside but Ms Queenie didn’t allow. She said that the outside world would not accept the boy who had the very old appearance like him. As Benjamin grew younger (which means people got older), sometimes he had a chance to go outside. He got on a bus, visited park, met some people and even his father on The Thanksgiving 1930. The world around him was so wealthy; many people who visited the nursing house wore beautiful and bright dress, and there were so many cars ran on the street. However, the way they treated him didn’t reflect their bright personality; when Benjamin walked, people looked at him with the curious eyes. In addition, one day he went with other old man to the local harbor to find a job; Captain Mike looked at them and then announced that he would pay $2 per day for them to work on his tugboat. While the other old man took the Captain Mike’s proposal as an insult, Benjamin accepted it. Although Captain Mike allowed Benjamin to join his crew, he always asked Benjamin to do some jobs like “Scrape off all this bird shit”. However, when Benjamin confided his unlucky life, Captain Mike felt sorry him because he had been lived on the tugboat when he was seven, just as his father. He even wanted to help Benjamin to have a life of a freeman. After a tired trip, he took Benjamin to a bar to have some drink; he asked Benjamin “What did your father do?”-“I never met my father”. He laughed out loud and said “You lucky bastard!”-“All fathers want to do is hold you down”-“Anyway, I finally work up the nerve and tell him”-“I don’t want to spend the rest of my life on a goddamn tugboat”. To some people at that time and even today; if you have a father or even a father that can give you his experience and property; you may have a happy life.