This is a warm comedy about love, life, middle age and being a woman.
Aurore (Agnès Jaoui) is now 50 and feeling her age. She is separated from her husband (Philippe Rebbot). The restaurant where she works has been taken over by an ageist new owner. Her eldest daughter Marina (Sarah Suco) is about to make her a grandma. Her younger daughter Lucy (Lou Roy-Lecollinet) wants to throw up her studies and follow her boyfriend to Spain. And to top it all, Aurore is in constant torment from the hot flushes of the menopause. As her doctor says to her depressingly: “It’s all downhill now”. Thanks, doc!
Things seem to be looking up though when she bumps into Totoche (Thibault de Montalembert), the love of her teenage years. But he has not forgotten how hurt he was, when Aurore ditched him and married his best friend all those years ago and he is wary of being hurt again.
Encouraged by her younger daughter, who seems to have inherited her mother’s optimism, and her best friend Mano (Pascale Arbillot), who has a big case against men, Aurore soldiers on, coping with Marina’s moods, searching for a job in market that has no space for middle aged women, even flirting with a new romance, when her relationship with Totoche hits the rocks.
The gentle comedy of the story emerges naturally from the characters and their situation. As on Aurore and Totoche’s first date when the ill-chosen restaurant, which specializes in best loved opera arias being sung live throughout dinner, frustrates their efforts to reminisce and reconnect. Or the woman in the job centre, where Aurore goes for help, who is so distracted by her own hot flushes, that she is incapable of putting a full sentence together.
Jaoui as Aurore is a delight – plumply pretty and sexy, despite a few lines on her face and coping with those wretched hot flushes. She has her moments of sadness and even despair but ultimately she is still full of the joie de vivre that gives the film its title.
There are some sly and funny swipes by the female characters at the gender inequalities of the world and the introduction of a life enhancing community of older women towards the end of the story, who help Aurore realise that there is so much life and even love to look forward to after the age of 50.