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Storyline (warning: spoilers)
Raphaël and Olivia meet as teens in high school, after Olivia captures his attention one day through playing the piano with extraordinary talent and emotion. It’s love at first sight. Though young, they get married. Raphaël has some vague ideas for a pulp sci-fi novel, set in a wintery dystopian post-apocalyptic Paris. Following some critical input from Olivia, who selflessly pauses her own career, the novel gets published. Now a famed pulp sci-fi action novelist, Raphaël forgets about Olivia. That is until he wakes up in an alternate reality where he has never met her, and she is a world famous concert pianist. Suddenly he realises he needs to win her back.
Gélin extracts plenty of comedic value out of the early interactions where we see Raphaël grasping, and then struggling to adjust to his new life. The audience, meanwhile, derives some pleasure out of seeing the hotshot writer get his comeuppance.
Many of the film’s more hilarious scenes involve the friendship between Raphaël and his high school best friend, Felix (Benjamin Lavernhe), who, like our fallen hero, hasn’t really amounted to much over the past 10 years. But unlike Raphaël, Felix is perfectly happy where he is in life, and the push and pull of the dichotomy that exists between the two of them adds a satisfying layer to the plot.
Ultimately, Gélin seems to be saying something about the sacrifices people need to make in order to keep their relationships afloat. Nonetheless, his protagonists can never exist on an equal footing due to his somewhat superficial and frequently old-fashioned version of how modern couples function: it’s either him or her, his career or hers, and there’s no apparent way they can “pursue happiness” together. The combination of this mutually exclusive aspect of their lives along with the inversion of their fortunes through the parallel universe mechanism represents a clever and occasionally funny twist on the rom com genre.