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Time travel movies and shows can be intense, convoluted and confusing but not this one. Go watch it.
Last Updated: 04.58 AM, May 02, 2022
Image via Netflix
Story: After finding a young man’s remains, Léa wakes up in the 90s and body swaps seven times as she tries to solve the mystery of his death — and prevent it.
Review: This French Netflix series is based on the 2019 book The 7 Lives of Léo Belami by Nataël Trapp but has not a boy but a girl named Lea (Raïka Hazanavicius) as the protagonist. She’s got a sort of devil may care attitude you can only have when you’re still a teen, has no plans to graduate high school or any sense of doom about her future as an adult. Lea’s just a regular French teen until she discovers a skeleton by a riverside. It’s enough to rattle someone's core but her discovery doesn’t stop there. She’s transported back in time and finds herself in the body of Ismael (Khalil Ben Gharbia), the very person whose skeleton she found.
In the present day, the cops are trying to unravel the mystery behind his death and Lea does her own detective work when she returns to the same timeline but each time in someone else’s body - her mom Katrine, her dad Stephane, the notorious bully Pye and more. They all are clearly linked to Ismael’s last day on the earth, but what exactly happened and will her efforts to save Ismael be fruitful? She shares all of this and more with her best friend who seems to humour her but not without suggesting that she try therapy if all of this gets out of hand.
Besides the sleuthing this body swap gift (or curse) allows her, she also finds out about other long-buried secrets concerning her parents. As time travel movies have taught us, and so has the new season of Russian Doll where Nadia is also transported back in time into her mom and grandmom’s bodies, we’ve learned that it’s best not to mess with the way things are no matter how noble your intentions may be. But does Lea realise this?
The 7 Lives of Lea is funny in parts, intriguing and is a novel iteration of both the time travel and murder-mystery tropes. The way the chapters focus on all these different key characters and how it elaborates on their individual stories and dilemmas, makes it seem like a visual representation of a book. The contrast between the different timelines and the difference in the cultures from then and now is also well sketched out, and so much fun to watch. Like how Lea, when inside Pye’s body, drops the word “lit” in casual conversation with Pye’s friends or how she tells them of refusing to engage in violence with Ismael because it was representative of “toxic masculinity” is quite funny.
The setting of a small French town is gorgeous, the acting by each and every cast member is superb, and the episodes in spite of being 30-40 minutes long keep your attention fixed on the story. Also, I haven’t read The 7 Lives of Léo Belami yet, but now it’s only making me itch to cop a copy.
Verdict: Time travel movies and shows can be intense, convoluted and confusing but not this one. Go watch it.
The 7 Lives of Lea is streaming on Netflix.