It appears that the main lesson he learned early in life that allowed him to survive being such an oddity is that of keeping his mouth shut. Brad Pitt didn't have a lot of acting to do; mostly he was staring at people and events, absorbing. Cate Blanchett was the female lead, and she was lovely as a ballerina and convincing at all stages.
The movie was quite disturbing to Suzanne. She couldn't seem to get it out of her head. I think that in her mind it could be possible to live backward, but to me it is a pure fantasy. I did enjoy it, and the opportunity to indulge in fantasy...
It turns out the story is based on a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald.