Camille (Noémie Lvovsky) is about to lose her husband Eric (Samir Guesmil) to a younger woman. They were 16 when they fell in love but now, 25 years later, their marriage is over. When Camille faints on New Year's Eve, she is transported back in time to the 80s - where her parents (Yolande Moreau, Michel Vuillermoz), friends and Eric all treat her like the 16 year old girl she used to be. Camille embraces the chance to make different choices - but can she avoid the inevitable?
Review by Louise Keller:
A trip into the past tries to makes sense of the present for Camille (Noémie Lvovsky), a two-bit actress with an anger and alcohol problem, who wants to address her regrets. Lvovsky uses sleight of hand to turn the clock back 25 years for her 40 year old Camille, in that while her physical appearance doesn't change to us, clearly her parents, peers and lovers see her in the skin of a 16 year old.
While this device offers some initial comical scenes from the response of those around her to her demands for cigarettes and whisky, the film is at its most successful in its depiction of perspective and the old adage that time brings the wisdom to differentiate between the things we can and cannot change. Lvovsky brings an appealing energy to the role of Camille as she struggles to counter the inevitable in a screenplay (co-written by Maud Ameline, Pierre-Olivier Mattei, Florence Seyvos) that addresses both the superficial and the profound.
In the opening scenes, we are given a snapshot of how Camille's life has reached rock bottom. Her one-day acting gig is that of a corpse with blood pulsating from her slashed throat and her unfaithful husband Eric (Samir Guesmi) is leaving her for his young pregnant girlfriend. It is New Year's Eve and two things prompt her to pay a visit to Monsieur Dupont (Jean-Pierre Léaud), the eccentric watchmaker who plays with time. The two issues with which he deals (the precious watch given to Camille by her parents on her 16th birthday and her wedding ring) represent key regrets, which Camille cannot wait to try to change, after a raucous New Year's Eve party finds her transported into her past.
Lvovsky concentrates on establishing the ambience at the school where Camille finds herself with her experimenting peers. The classroom scene in which she reacts adversely as she sees her husband Eric for the first time is very funny, as are the scenes in the drama class, where she does everything she can to reject him and expunge him from her life. Her efforts trying to make her mother (Yolande Moreau) have a CAT scan to prolong her life are equally futile. The scenes involving Camille's physics lecturer (Denis Podalydès) are nicely conceived, offering an effective springboard back into reality at the next New Year's Eve party when the unforgettable Katrina & The Waves's 1983 hit Walking on Sunshine plays.
While Camille Rewinds may not bring anything new to the table when it comes to the wisdom of hindsight, the film has an original slant and charm that reinforces our destiny and making the most of the cards we are given.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
This playful, sometimes whimsical, always engaging take on a familiar storytelling theme - alternative futures - manages to make the fantasy meaningful through the grounding elements of genuine drama. Some of the key elements of the material are serious, if not dark, and the result is a melancholy tone, as distinct from the superficial version of some mainstream films (eg Freaky Friday).
The story begins in drama, too, with a nasty marriage breakup as Eric (Samir Guesmil) is thrown out of the family apartment by an angry Camille (Noémie Lvovsky). The mood changes when Camille faints at the stroke of midnight at a New Year's Eve party and she comes to in hospital, where she discovers she has been thrown back to just before her 16th birthday.
As director, Lvovsky manages to maintain the deception with licence from the audience, as she trawls through the issues that impact on Camille, from the pending death of her mother to the problem of trying to avoid re-committing the mistake of linking up with Eric. It's mostly successful, and the screenplay is injected with good humour as well as well observed human frailties.
As the central character, Lvovsky does a great job, her everywoman looks adding a sense of veracity to her woes as well as delivering on the comedy. Guesmil - who manages to look right both in his youth and as the long-married older man - contributes to the overall ambiance of the film while both Denis Podalydès as the physics professor in whom Camille confides and Jean-Pierre-Léaud as the jeweller who sells Eric the ring which Camille wants to get cut off her finger, deliver terrific cameos.
The film has a great undulating rhythm thanks to fine editing work, and the 80s are conveyed with a subtle set of design elements.
Lvovsky and her co-writers are keen to end the film on a positive note, but they can only do that by a cinematic sleight of hand, which airbrushes reality. But then it IS a fantasy....
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CAMILLE REWINDS (M)
CAST: Noémie Lvovsky, Samir Guesmi, India Hair, Judith Chemla, Julia Faure, Yolande Moreau, Michel Vuillermoz, Denis Podalydès, Jean-Pierre-Léaud, Mathieu Amalric
PRODUCER: Philippe Carcassone, Jean-Louis Livi
DIRECTOR: Noémie Lvovsky
SCRIPT: Noémie Lvovsky
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Jean-Marc Fabre
EDITOR: Annette Dutertre, Michel Klochendler
MUSIC: Joseph Dahan, Gaetan Roussel
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Fred Lapierre
RUNNING TIME: 107 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Umbrella
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: April 2013