Lost in the Movies: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (The Unseen 2008)

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (The Unseen 2008)

"The Unseen" is a series in which I watch popular films for the first time (spoilers are discussed, including for Twin Peaks and Forrest Gump). The list, which moves backwards in time, is based on the highest-ranked film I've never seen each year on Letterboxd (as of April 2018). The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was #5 for 2008.

The Story: "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past." The famous conclusion of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby was literalized by the same author three years in the past (how appropriate) with his 1922 short story The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. And David Fincher's cinematic adaptation, based on a screenplay by Forrest Gump's Eric Roth (a connection hard to miss), literalizes this concept even further with actual floodwaters threatening the hospital deathbed of Daisy Fuller (Cate Blanchett) in 2005 New Orleans. As Hurricane Katrina bears down on the city where she spent much of her life, the eighty-two-year-old Daisy shares an anecdote, and then a diary/scrapbook, with her thirty-seven-year-old daughter Caroline (Julia Ormond). The anecdote relates the sad tale of Mr. Gateau (Elias Koteas), a clockmaker who was commissioned to create a grand timepiece for New Orleans' train station; grieving the recent loss of his son in World War I, Gateau's installation runs backwards, symbolically wishing for the return of those dead young men. The diary reveals that, around the same time - the night of Armistice Day to be exact - button manufacturer Thomas Button (Jason Flemyng) raced home through the jubilant end-of-war celebrations to find his wife (Joeanna Sayler) dying in childbirth. Horrified by the infant's appearance - the boy is a shriveled creature covered by wrinkles and wracked with arthritis, cataracts, and other ailments - Thomas flees his home with the baby in his arms, nearly tossing the child into the river before hiding him on the steps of a nursing home.

Adopted by caretaker Queenie (Taraji P. Henson) and dubbed Benjamin (eventually played by Brad Pitt whose features are fused with other actors' bodies early on), the child is not expected to live very long. Every day of existence seems a miracle, and all the more miraculous is his slow recovery from all those birth defects. Though small in stature, well into adolescence his face and body resemble the elderly residents surrounding him; he needs braces after finally standing from his wheelchair inside a revival tent (the preacher played by Lance P. Nichols collapses in death even as he summons Benjamin to rise). Drawn to the outside world but unable to travel far - physically because he's old and mentally because he's still a dependent child - Benjamin falls in love Daisy (Elle Fanning and Madisen Beaty before Blanchett steps in), a girl visiting her grandmother at the home. Just a few years younger than him in reality, they appear to be separated by an almost unbridgeable gap of generations. Eventually Benjamin becomes self-reliant enough to begin work on a tugboat, where the salty, tattooed Captain Mike Clark (Jared Harris) introduces the naive youngster to the pleasures of booze and women. Departing for a series of international engagement during the Great Depression, Benjamin - now looking like a seasoned but far more upright sixtysomething - meets the refined British expat Elizabeth Abbot (Tilda Swinton) while docked in the Soviet Union, already at war with Germany although the U.S. is not. The sailor and the diplomat's wife begin an affair with ends without explanation on the eve of Pearl Harbor; from there Benjamin joins his captain in a war effort where they serve mainly to assist bigger and sturdier cargo conveys and battleships.

After a relatively quiet period at sea, the tugboat battles a U-boat and Benjamin is one of few survivors. He returns to New Orleans looking middle-aged while his mother appears noticeably older. When he is reunited with Daisy, she is at the peak of youthful beauty and vivaciousness - a trained dancer, she lives in New York City and provides a stark contrast with Benjamin's reserved Southern gentleman demeanor. He declines her sexual overtures and then attempts to visit Manhattan and sweep her off his feet a few years later, by which time she has another lover. They remain emotionally too far apart to kindle their chemistry into something deeper and more fulfilling. Meanwhile, Benjamin's father reaches out to reconcile with him, explaining the young man's history for the first time and eventually passing the booming button business onto the younger Button when Thomas dies. Another decade, another phase of life for Benjamin, who is now spry enough to race his motorcycle from one romantic encounter to another while also encountering another missed connection with Daisy in the fifties. The handsome bachelor discovers that the talented performer's career has been cut short by a devastating car accident; when he shows up in Paris to visit, she rejects even his overtures of friendship. Only in the sixties, when they are both chronologically and physically around forty, do the couple finally come together. Traveling in style and living off the Button family earnings (they move in together only after Benjamin's non-Button mother passes away), they embrace the vitality of rock and roll and the sensuality of the era. A daughter - Caroline, it turns out - is born in the late sixties and Benjamin decides he must depart to wander the world and prepare for an old age in which he will transform into a child.

Benjamin and Daisy reunite one other time to make love, she now aged into her fifties (with a new husband to raise Caroline) and he a beautiful youth of twenty or so, before their final years together. A seeming adolescent whose confusion has more to do with senility than puberty, Benjamin returns to the nursing home and is looked after by his former lover now playing the role of mother; he dies in her arms as a fresh-faced infant just a couple years before her own end. Caroline is shocked to learn all of this history in her mother's final moments, just as it becomes clear that the hurricane is about to consume the city. Nearby, Gateau's ornate clock - recently replaced by an impersonal digital display - rests forgotten in a basement and drowns in the deluge.

The Context: Fitzgerald's story provides the direct inspiration to which various creators clung through two difficult decades of development hell. If Forrest Gump's focus tends more toward the eras following the events of the Benjamin Button film, the focus of the original text is very much on the eras preceding the Fincher/Roth version. In fact, that story serves as an almost-perfect mirror for the movie's timeline, since the literary Benjamin is born as an old man in 1860 and dies by disappearing into the fog of infancy at an unspecified, but presumably then-future date (around 1928 or 1930 it seems, given his apparent age during World War I). Fitzgerald conveys his tale with the breezy effortlessness of a pebble skipping across water, delighting into the idiosyncrasies and touching lightly upon the poignant elements. Aside from ending rather than beginning in the Jazz Age, the extra dozen or so years added to Benjamin's life alter the story of his youth; rather than coming of age as a hunched-over elderly child, he enters adulthood as a crisp, distinguished fifty-year-old. This contributes to a sense that Benjamin's life passes more quickly on the page than the screen, as does the nature of his romance with a young woman who ages past him. Far from the deep, lifelong attachment the film's protagonist feels toward Daisy, Fitzgerald's Hildegard Moncrief provides one of many fleeting, wilting pleasures in Benjamin's life. She and Benjamin are briefly in sync only when she, as an eighteen-year-old belle of the ball, mistakes him for a distinguished older gentleman rather than, as in the film, when they both appear to be and actually are about the same age.

First optioned in the eighties, the project was variously attached to Frank Oz, Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, Spike Jonze, and Gary Ross as director, with Jim Taylor and Charlie Kaufman penning various drafts while Martin Short, Tom Cruise, and John Travolta were all considered for the part before Pitt stepped in. While director Fincher may feel like a surprise against that backdrop, writer Roth is a more obvious pick given the book's span as well as the fable-like approach ultimately favored by superproducers Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall. Roth's Forrest Gump is an obvious template here - the similarities between the two works remain astounding. To wit: both protagonists grow up as disabled children surrounded by comings and goings in their mother's crowded Southern home; both fall in love with free-spirited but cursed in-and-out-of-their-lives women who can't be with them initially and whose own initial attempts to seduce them don't go well; both go to war alongside a briefly-glimpsed diverse crew who are injured or killed in a sudden attack by an unseen enemy (and both deliver a message to doomed combatants' families at their request); both run highly profitable businesses from a distance - while pursuing other adventures - in partnership with mentor figures whose troubled souls they soothe; both have children to whom they have to be re-introduced because one of the parents didn't want to burden the other; and both encounter light, floating phenomena - a single feather or a hummingbird - as a motif to encapsulate life's beauty and fragility throughout their tales. Both stories are also largely framed by a character sharing a life story with someone else, offering a return-to-the-present motif to offset the recounting of an individual life amidst American iconography and mythology. Despite these similarities, Benjamin Button - which did quite well without approaching the pop culture phenomenon of Forrest Gump - seems to have stronger legs than the mid-nineties blockbuster.

Incorporated into the Criterion Collection, showing up on the margins of greatest film lists, at the very least Benjamin Button hasn't inspired too much ire. Despite its beloved status among normies who were present for its release, a Gump backlash has fueled a wave of not-so-unpopular "unpopular opinions" describing it as reactionary, treacly, and insincere. Benjamin Button covers the more distant Depression and World War II eras (and largely avoids politics when it does reach the fifties and sixties), engaging more in Gen X, Greatest Generation, and Lost Generation mythologies than familiar boomer tropes, and David Fincher - as much a technically-oriented director as Robert Zemeckis but cooler and less inclined toward a sentimental presentation - curries more critical favor than the Gump director. Personally, for what it's worth, I've always enjoyed Forrest Gump; while I get all of the objections intellectually, I've never quite been able to wrap my head around the visceral repulsion it fuels in some quarters. I don't mind the emotional manipulation, but additionally I find the film to be rather more deadpan, playful, and tongue-in-cheek than its reputation suggests; most of all, I'm drawn to its patterns and the way they map on to changing times and locations (as observed here), creating a thread to follow throughout its winding narrative. Benjamin Button doesn't quite do the same thing, and its approach to history is more preoccupied with everyday textures than big totemic political and cultural events. The film could almost form a trilogy with Fincher's previous and next work, Zodiac and The Social Network; all three offers portraits of particular times and places - San Francisco in the sixties and seventies, New Orleans from 1918 to 2005, and Harvard University in the early twenty-first century (produced just a few years later than the events than it depicts, the Facebook film already felt like a period piece in Fincher's hands). While not quite as revered or consistently remembered as those bookends, Benjamin Button offers the most material to chew on.

After a labored production - years of bringing together the pieces before a 2007 shoot and another year and a half of effects work - Benjamin Button did prove the most profitable of Fincher's late zeroes/early teens triad, earning $335 million worldwide and many nominations for Oscars and critic's group awards (without managing to win much outside of technical categories). In a fascinating exception, one dissenting reviewer - Roger Ebert - was offended by the film's very hook. Calling it "a splendidly made film based on a profoundly mistaken premise," he further protested, "As I watched the film, I became consumed by a conviction that this was simply wrong. ... The movie's premise devalues any relationship, makes futile any friendship or romance, and spits, not into the face of destiny, but backward into the maw of time." The reaction was perhaps understandable from a seventy-six-year-old man in the throes of a cancer which had already taken his jaw and ability to speak (and would take his life within five years); watching Brad Pitt became more physically fit and energetic the older he grew must have seemed like a perverse frivolity. However, this objection takes the concept a bit too literally because ultimately the film is less interested in the gimmick of a wizened adolescent and a youthful geriatric than in what surrounds those moments: the sense of accomplishment and self-understanding in the middle of one's life bracketed by the helplessness of infancy and senility.

Fitzgerald credited Mark Twain for an aphorism "to the effect that it was a pity that the best part of life came at the beginning and the worst part at the end" (the actual quote appears to be "Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of 80 and gradually approach 18"). However, both Fitzgerald and Roth/Fincher suggest that how one looks on the outside matters less than the inner consistency of the experience at both extremities. Fitzgerald also discovered, only after writing his story, a similar conclusion in the Note-books of Samuel Butler: "They live their lives backwards, beginning, as old men and women, with little more knowledge of the past than we have of the future, and foreseeing the future about as clearly as we see the past, winding up by entering into the womb as though being buried. But delicacy forbids me to pursue this subject further: the upshot is that it comes to much the same thing, provided one is used to it."

My Response: How many ways can the content of a film mirror the role it plays in my own discussion of it? The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was released the year I began this website and I am finally covering it, fifteen years later, as I plan to draw a curtain on my public film and TV commentary (which will eventually continue, along with the "Unseen" series specifically, on Patreon - I'll provide more details at the end of this piece). Moreover, Benjamin Button reflects the flow of the "Unseen" approach, asking what happens if we roll the clock backwards rather than start at the beginning. My general fascination with backwards chronology may best be exhibited by my Generations post and the potential video series I've yet to develop. Surely uncoincidentally, this fascination has only grown - amplifying an already-deep interest with (forward-moving) aging, eras, and generations - as I approach my own fortieth birthday against a backdrop of millennial hopes and bitter disappointments which echo but also diverge from those of earlier periods and age groups. The one-two punch of the ascendent Bernie Sanders campaign's sudden collapse and, mere days later, the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown made my generation's transition from extended youth to premature middle age feel all the more disorienting in its whiplash. Is Fitzgerald's wistful Gatsby lament a curse or a blessing? Or is it both, an ironic wish rather than a regretful reality - longing for the poignant disappointment of a binding but precious past when faced with the harsh exhaustion of a certain, disappointing future? (Jay Gatsby himself of course longs for the past and is able to attain something like it, albeit ultimately not the past he wanted to remember.)

Benjamin Button asks these questions in a fashion I quite enjoyed, which is not to say all of it worked for me. Thirty years into the era of CGI supremacy - computer animation has been front and center for the vast majority of my own conscious moviegoing - I remain largely unimpressed with the aesthetics of digital effects. Old/young Benjamin (the figure anchoring the first half-hour or so of the movie) is a bit too "uncanny valley" for me, cultivating the impression that I'm watching a cartoon character in live action drag. I also have a slightly nitpicky (but also, I'm convinced, substantive) objection to the way the film bookends Benjamin's life. The fact that his stature does not match the rest of his physical features is admittedly an understandable conceit. Fitzgerald's more comical story introduces the baby as a full-sized, white-bearded man but the image of an elder emerging from the womb or sprawled out in his bassinette might recall Will Ferrell's similar Saturday Night Live sketch a little too closely for a prestige picture. Conversely, because of the movie's decision to start small, I expected this adaptation to end with an adult-size, hairless, incommunicative Benjamin (perhaps dying at the same time as his onetime lover in a nearby hospital room). I was surprised - and relieved - to see the old Benjamin played by actual child actors who had not been face-swapped with a de-aged Pitt. Of course this introduces additional contradictions. Why does Benjamin grow up and then grow down; shouldn't his height develop more concretely one direction? (Yes, elderly bodies sometimes shrink but not as dramatically as the pint-size Benjamin in childhood and puberty.) Between the two visual conceits, I prefer how the film handles Benjamin's later years and not merely because casting different actors is less distracting than the CGI approach. There is also something quite powerful about using real children's expressions and behavior to convey the frightening passage into dementia.

One thing Benjamin Button does really well - paradoxically, by switching up the signifiers - is to convey how life's beginning and end parallel one another. This is a tricky storytelling device because the film's stylistic and narrative hooks depend upon the difference between youth and old age, while its thematic resonance depends upon their similarity. I thought the film navigated that particular challenge quite deftly. In fact, I found myself wishing that the already nearly three-hour runtime was even longer, perhaps miniseries-length with that extension used to explore the later parts of Benjamin's life. Despite my objections to the look of early Benjamin, narratively those passages work quite well - the establishment of the central setting is necessarily immersive and meditative, and helps us get a handle on this difficult, reticent character. It's a bit jarring when Pitt finally appears in costume and makeup (the transition from the more manipulated incarnation is not very smooth) but overall he takes a character who could've been a cipher and conveys a sense of soulfulness without recourse to the vocal tics and mannerisms that helped Tom Hanks pull off a similar role. Blanchett has, in many ways, a more challenging if (slightly) less showy part to play and her presence anchors those final passages particularly well. In what may well have been a response to the criticism of Jenny's place as the punished rebel made dutiful martyr in Gump, the still-suffering Daisy outlives Benjamin and cares for him in his final days.

Another interesting point of contrast, and further inspiration for my interest in backwards chronology, is Twin Peaks (which I first watched and wrote about in the months before Benjamin Button's release). In Twin Peaks, with emphasis on Fire Walk With Me and especially The Return, the passage of time is a forceful but malleable quality, consuming many characters in its march while offering a select few the opportunity to reboot and change course (only to discover they are still lost, maybe even more so than before). Benjamin Button toys with the notion of reversibility - soldiers standing back up from muddy battlefields rhyme with Laura Palmer's body disappearing from the beach - but ultimately the film treats aging as an inevitability, no matter which direction it goes in. "How old are you?" is not quite the same question as "What year is this?" From its initial blurring of fifties and eighties motifs to its impromptu pivot towards a prequel, from its hard cut reveal of the Trinity atomic test to its Back to the Future-like re-insertion into its own previous material, Twin Peaks riffs on time shifts with a sense of disciplined freedom both inside and around the text. Benjamin Button jogs between present and past but traces an orderly line of chronology which offers a certain weight as well as something to bounce off of. Both dwell on grief for lost children, the fraught relationship between parents and their offspring, and the connections forged at a particular moment which cannot (even with Peaks' flexibility) simply be duplicated again later on. Both works appreciate the power of nostalgic longing but ultimately suggest that you fundamentally can't go home again...even when you apparently can.

In December 2008, I was living and working in New Hampshire, where I had grown up, after spending about six years of early adulthood in New York City (incidentally, the bulk of this essay is being written on a visit back to the city). Back then, "Lost in the Movies" - initially called "The Dancing Image" - had just begun life as a movie blog. When The Curious Case of Benjamin Button premiered, I was publishing reviews of seventies paranoia thrillers like The Parallax View and The Conversation; when it hit wide release on Christmas my most recent post was a line-up of Astaire/Rogers musical clips. I was wrapping up a season, and half-year, of busy online activity but this was merely the end of the very beginning - the start of something new which is only now coming to an end, if a partial one. Though by 2008 my cinema-going had been ebbing for years, I was still seeing (and writing about) new releases while deeply engaged in blogosphere discussions about them. My recollection of the Benjamin Button buzz are mediated through memories of other blog reviews topped by publicity stills or promotional screenshots with lively comment threads beneath, mixed in with discussions of other holiday blockbusters and/or Oscarbait circulating in the discourse at this time. I don't know that I particularly avoided the movie, but any hesitation may have stemmed from the look of the CGI and the feeling that it was going to be heavier on concept than more tangible qualities (impressions gleaned, as I recall, from the ambivalent reviews I happened to read). I'm curious what I would have thought of this back then, but I'm glad I waited because it fits so well right here and right now.

Signs of the Times: By now, the "Unseen" series has (almost) fully reverted to the period of the second Bush presidency. Released shortly after the big financial crash and Obama's election but obviously scripted and shot well beforehand, the film chooses the then-still-quite-topical Katrina devastation as its "present moment" anchoring device. (A couple months prior, I reviewed Spike Lee's documentary When the Levees Broke as coverage of a crisis touching directly upon the 2008 presidential election, due to the devastation wrought by government indifference to racialized poverty.) The hospital scenes are shot in cold, muted tones that recall many other purposefully drab zeroes movies - a deliberate contrast with the vibrant colors of post-World War I New Orleans (and in keeping with the closing contrast between the blandly functional digital clock and the beautiful one crafted by Gateau). Although it dips more briefly into the post-sixties decades than it does into other eras, the film does span eighty-seven years, allowing us to view some gradual shifts in fashion, location, and cars. Perhaps a 2023 film would view '08 itself as a time capsule but Benjamin Button treats most of the current-day (or close to it) material in an offhand manner suggesting dull familiarity rather than a unique historical character of its own. Benjamin himself carries connotations of an earlier era even beyond his own birth; initially he looks old enough to have served in the Civil War while eventually he appears too young to remember 9/11. Physically at least he belongs to generations whose lives span from as far in the past as the 1830s to as late as the futuristic 2100s. His self-banishment, decline into incommunicative helplessness, and eventual death - the backwards movement of these developments suggesting erasure rather than completion - evoke the vanishing of several bygone ages, an eclipse of history which the hurricane will complete.

Despite immersing itself in the past and taking jabs at modern technology like the digital clock (also noteworthy is the contrast between the warmth and camaraderie of the old nursing home and the clinical, disengaged atmosphere of the modern hospital), Benjamin Button itself embodies the explosion of new technology. Moving backward in this series from 2018, when digital dominated the cinema, old-fashioned 35mm celluloid has been cropping up more and more; Benjamin Button, however, is resolutely digital. Fincher and his crew thought the CGI effects workflow - and a desire for numerous takes - demanded this format, the second time in a row he'd worked digitally (another aspect tying Zodiac, Benjamin Button, and The Social Network together at a time when this wasn't yet the norm). Meanwhile, the millennial dominance of these "Unseen" selections is coming to an end. Fanning, the most notable of the younger players, is a zoomer (Gen Z if you must), and the leads are both Gen X (arguably in Pitt's case, as he's a year younger than late boomer Fincher but I think that makes the cut). We're approaching the era when my generation did not dominate even the youthful part of the population - this is when millennial creatives existed primarily in the audience for the movies that would shape them, wondering when they'd get their chance to take part.

Other Films: Hefty profits, nominations, and positive reviews aside, Benjamin Button couldn't hope to duplicate Forrest Gump's status as pop phenomenon of the year (shared with The Lion King in 1994). In 2008 there was room for only one behemoth: The Dark Knight, which sent the late Heath Ledger off with a blaze of glory, wrote Christopher Nolan a forever-blank check, and cemented the coming epoch as one defined by superhero franchise films. That said, a different comic book adaptation would prove more significant for the future of the industry. Iron Man made $585 million to Dark Knight's near-billion (#8 rather than #1 at the worldwide box office) and did not receive the same degree of critical praise. But this cheeky blockbuster, along with the same year's cheerfully politically incorrect Tropic Thunder, signified former indie darling Robert Downey Jr.'s post-narcotic comeback as a major movie star. Most importantly, Iron Man launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe; what appeared at the time like one summer action movie would eventually swallow up the entire field. More typical of this period's superhero output was the standalone Hancock, carried by well-established superstar Will Smith and not reliant for comprehension on a web of other movies. Joining the three superheroes in the top ten were Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull (in many ways a blast from the past), Kung Fu Panda, Mamma Mia!, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, Quantum of Solace, and The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. One of the most beloved films of the year, WALL-E, made less at the box office than those other animated films while earning rave reviews and a place on greatest-films-of-the-decade (or all time) lists - alongside Toy Story, maybe Pixar's most iconic triumph.

A big hit outside the top ten was Best Picture winner Slumdog Millionaire, which also nabbed Best Director for Danny Boyle alongside performances by Sean Penn in Milk, Kate Winslet in The Reader, Penelope Cruz in Vicky Cristina Barcelona, and of course the already legendary Ledger. Oliver Stone raced to cap off the Bush era with the fresh-off-the-presses biopic W. and the Coen brothers fed off the period's fascination with espionage by directing a very different Brad Pitt performance in Burn After Reading. (Reacting in real time to the two releases, I praised the former and panned the latter; while I haven't seen either movie since then, those perspectives certainly don't align with today's consensus.) A few years later, I would choose Historias Extraordinarias - an Argentinian omnibus of unusual wandering narratives - as the Best Feature for this year. Other '08 titles include the breakout YA adaptation hit Twilight, Frost/Nixon, Che, Revolutionary Road, The Class, Gomorrah, Paranoid Park, the Keanu Reeves-led remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still, Michael Haneke's American remake of his own Funny Games, Happy-Go-Lucky, Zack and Miri Make a Porno, Meet the Spartans, The Clone Wars, Pineapple Express, Synecdoche New York, Wendy and Lucy, The Headless Woman, A Christmas Tale, Waltz with Bashir, Summer Hours, Let the Right One In, Ballast, In Bruges, Man on Wire, Sex and the City (cable's first jump to the big screen?), The Incredible Hulk (Marvel's less successful endeavor, a reboot that had to be quickly rebooted, with Edward Norton replacing Eric Bana on the way to Mark Ruffalo), Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Four Christmases, Marley & Me (which beat Benjamin Button at the weekend box office), Horton Hears a Who!, Martyrs, Stepbrothers, The House Bunny, Taken, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Changeling, Cloverfield, Gran Torino, Ponyo, The Wrestler, Bolt, Speed Racer, The Other Boleyn Girl, Disaster Movie, Fool's Gold, Australia, Doubt, The Duchess, Rachel Getting Married, the right-wing anti-Michael Moore Dickens adaptation An American Carol, Morgan Spurlock's Where in the World is Osama bin Ladin, Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay (speaking of Bush era artifacts), Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist, and Be Kind Rewind - the first film I reviewed for this website.

What's Next? And so we end up full circle, 2008 in 2023. Having vowed to make this review my last public entry in this series (and one of my last public pieces of film/TV commentary, period), what remains for "The Unseen"? If I choose to continue this, as I'm inclined to do, it would be on my Patreon. I'll probably wait several months to a year or more until my various Twin Peaks projects are done before resuming with Edgar Wright's 2007 Hot Fuzz. I had no doubt, however, about where and when The Curious Case of Benjamin Button belonged.

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