It took a brave man to chance a French comedy after the dismal response to Beautiful Lies two years ago but then our hero went to water and didn’t turn up for the show. Pity, he may have been carried triumphal through the lobby of Cinema Paradiso to enjoy a pretty decent shiraz.
His choice, Camille Rewinds (2012), the like of which has been done before, most notably in the 1986 Francis Ford Coppola film, Peggy Sue Got Married, was charming, funny and carried a sweet message – true love is always true love if you can just remember how it was when it first happened.
Forty-year-old would be actress, Camille (Noemie Lvovsky), has been rejected by her schoolgirl love and eventual husband, Eric (Samir Guesmi). Camille drinks to excess, smokes a lot and is prone to ignore her shortcomings in the light of Eric’s leaving her for another (younger?) woman. Who can blame him? She’s a bit of a mess.
At a New Year’s Eve party with her three best friends from school, Camille faints and wakes 25 years before on the eve of her 16th birthday. While the audience sees the 40-year-old Camille dressed in early 1980s teenage costume, all around her see the young girl on the verge of womanhood. Boys, smoking, drinking, and school play the major part in this Camille’s life, with the very important sidebar that she knows her mother drops dead in this year.
Camille searches for a way to warn her mother of the impending doom but to no avail, meanwhile rejecting the advances of Eric, who she doesn’t want to repeat the same mistake with twice. However, the two have a 24-year-old daughter so the matter is further complicated by her wanting to get pregnant by him so that part of history doesn’t change. Confused? It wasn’t that hard to follow on screen.
Lvovsky is wonderful. Though looking every bit of 40 and with a fulsome figure, she always looked okay as the 16-year-old Camille and carried it off beautifully.
She also directed and the film was dedicated to another of the same name – one assumes her husband, or perhaps her mother? The movie gives due respect to both, the love of one’s life and the love of a parent taken too early in their and your life.
Those wondering what happened to 2011 Frank’s best supporting actress runner-up, Judith Chemla – the kooky receptionist in Beautiful Lies – probably would not have recognised her as Josepha, Camille’s haunted-looking best friend; and major French stars Anne Alvaro (The Taste of Others) and Mathieu Amalric (The Diving Bell and The Butterfly) give fleeting cameo performances.
At the film’s conclusion, Camille and Eric are together at a familiar rendezvous and she spills her heart to him based on what has gone before. Will he take her back? Are they still in love?
I hope so because the question was asked at the post-film soiree: ‘Do you believe in love at first sight?’
Eric’s answer would be a resounding ‘yes’ … and I would have to agree with him.
FOOTNOTE: While looking up information on Peggy Sue Got Married (1986), there was the bonus to find there was plenty of talent (perhaps then as unknowns) in the minor players: Jim Carrey, Joan Allen and Helen Hunt.