Lvovsky portrays the titular Camille, a woman who drowns herself in whisky to compensate for her failing acting career and her deteriorating marriage to a childhood sweetheart. After passing out at a New Year’s party, Camille awakes to find herself back in 1985, where everybody (apart from the audience) sees her as a 16 year old. It appears that Camille is presented with an opportunity to rewrite history, to avoid having her heart broken by her future husband, and to finally come to terms with her mother. Yet despite her best intentions, everything plays out as before with only the occasional minor alteration.
Lvovsky is charming and humorous as Camille, who embraces the absurdity of the situation and relishes every moment in her new second life. She proudly engages with the ridiculous fashion and Euro-Pop hits although Lvovsky’s representation of a 16 year old is less convincing than the rest of the cast who make a similar transformation, This is particularly the case with Samir Guesmi, who plays Eric, Camille’s childhood sweetheart and future ex-husband. Guesmi brilliantly portrays both the man and the boy, creating two different characters who are separated by time.
Despite the acting being on the whole lively and engaging, the actors are propelled by a rather typical story. For what is ostensibly a comedy, the laughs are very thin on the ground beyond the visual humour of Lvovsky dressed like a teenager, and apart from one particular scene where Camille attempts to seduce a young boy. Thankfully, any awkward problems are avoided. The film’s approach to our time-traveller’s initial reaction is formulaic; her strange behaviour is baffling to her friends and parents, but it is used not for comic but for melancholic effect. Camille arrives in her past, hoping to prevent her mother’s impending death and also share news of her pregnancy. This leads to the most heartbreaking scene in the film. As Camille reveals her pregnancy to her mother, Camille slowly realises the reaction she wished for will never arrive. Instead she gets the typical response which any 16 year old might expect to receive and we witness the joy drain out of her eyes. Rather than using time-travel as means of comedy, then, Lvovsky uses it as means to explore the personal.
This should give a sense of what sort of film this is. The comedy takes a backseat, and is used as means of punctuating the more personal moments of the film. Lvovsky might allows us to laugh at the absurdity of the conceit, especially at the film’s beginning, but she gently leads us surely and firmly into the melancholic heart of this film.
This is not a film of great achievement by any means. It does not rewrite the genre or offer anything profound. Yet it is a pleasing film, well paced and acted. Its scatter-brained story does offer a more human side to the genre but sadly this is not explored to its fullest potential. The ending of the film arrives rather abruptly as well, but with some relief as the film itself is overlong. It is a shame that this film has received a limited release because it would appeal to a wider audience despite its weaknesses. Lvovsky has produced a well-made and enjoyable film but one which would have benefitted from a more coherent tone.