This is Peggy Sue Got Married with a French accent, but the idea hasn't gained much in translation. Director and co-writer Lvovsky takes the title role as a failing actor whose marriage is on the rocks. When she gets falling-down drunk at a New Year's Eve party, she passes out and wakes up as a 16-year-old in 1985.
Lvovsky, pushing 50, makes no attempt to look like a teenager; indeed, much of the film's humour resides in the idea that everybody (except the audience) sees her as 16. And we watch as she is given the opportunity to reboot her life.
Resting as they do on an ontological impossibility - there's a neat moment when a physics teacher uses a cigarette lighter to demonstrate the unfeasibility of time travel - such comedies have to unfold in their own reality. But this film doesn't play fair with the genre: a tragic illness is predicted, but other events occur as a surprise. And in the end, it seems faintly disappointing Camille's main preoccupation remains finding the right man (and admitting her powerlessness to do so).
Nevertheless, it's kept afloat by Lvovsky's warm, generous performance (Guesmi as the childhood sweetheart who will become her husband is excellent too). Screen legend Leaud, who came to fame in Truffaut's The 400 Blows, has a lovely cameo as a watchmaker sage and Amalric is great as a sleazy teacher.
Best, it avoids broad comedy in favour of poignant moments: there's a bit of a kick to hearing a teenager say "it's too late to turn my life around".
Cast: Noemie Lvovsky, Samir Guesmi, Jean-Pierre Leaud, Mathieu Amalric
Director: Noemie Lvovsky
Running time: 110 mins
Rating: M (language, nudity) In French with English subtitles
Verdict: Unoriginal but warm-hearted and sweet.