Alexandre Desplat/Various artists
Music from the Motion Picture: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The soundtrack album for the major Hollywood production, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, is a representative example of big-studio sentimentality in musical form. The first disc is an hour of Alexandre Desplat’s score, nominated for a Golden Globe, hits all the notes expected from film music in late-year, award-baiting star vehicles (of which “Benjamin Button” certainly is one). It’s not particularly challenging or interesting, but effectively evokes the emotions it seeks to convey and thus serves its utilitarian purpose, if not necessarily an “artistic” one.
Sentimentality is still present in droves on the second disc, which makes up for sappy dialogue peppered throughout by serving up some delightful pre-WWII jazz, and piano pieces—The Boswell Sisters’ cheerful “That’s How Rhythm Was Born” and Louis Armstrong’s perfectly romantic “If I Could Be With You (One Hour Tonight)” are standout tracks. As a collection of songs providing an introduction to early 20th century American music to a casual listener only impelled to pick it up by Brad Pitt or David Fincher fandom, the second half of the soundtrack can be considered a minor triumph.