9. The Butterfly Effect - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Forgoing gory kills and nihilistic themes, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button stands out as David Fincher’s most gentle film. Based on an F. Scott Fitzgerald short story, Benjamin Button tells the tale of a man who ages backward. The film never gives us a concrete reason for how this curious event happens; we have to accept the premise and move on. This idea is central to the story’s themes of fate and determinism, and this one scene where Benjamin's love interest, Daisy, is hit by a car perfectly encapsulates these concepts.
The scene begins in an unassuming manner with Benjamin narrating a butterfly effect-type story where little things go wrong, like a woman missing her taxi and a man sleeping through his alarm clock. However, as this sequence keeps cutting to Daisy at her dance rehearsal, we realize with sinking dread that these tiny incidents are connected and lead to her unfortunate accident. Though Benjamin muses that Daisy might have been okay if one of these small mishaps had gone right, he ultimately accepts that nothing can change her fate.
Claudio Miranda’s gorgeous cinematography brings this scene to life, bathing the scenery in muted blues and making Daisy stand out with her bright yellow coat. Though Daisy's fate is for her dancing career to be cut short by a broken leg, she goes on to have an eventful life with Benjamin, which may not have happened had things been different.