The 7 Lives of Lea is a French murder mystery drama series based on a 17-year old who swaps bodies with those in the past after finding a skeleton in the canyons. It is now streaming on Netflix.
Léa is a 17-year old girl with a non-communicative family. Questioning the purpose of her life, she wanders through the canyons where she stumbles upon a skeleton wearing a silver bracelet.
She proceeds to travel 30 years back in time and finds herself trying to uncover the truth about how the skeleton ended up in the canyons. She wakes up in a different body in 1991 every time she goes to sleep in 2021.
The protagonist, Léa, is played by Raïka Hazanavicius, a newcomer to the industry who aptly puts forth Léa’s justified anger at the mystery that lingers in her home.
Khalil Ben Gharbia beautifully plays the role of Ismaël, the young boy who died in 1991.
Most characters from the past have a 30 year older counterpart, portrayed by a different actor. These well-cast duos made the time-travel factor more believable.
Most of the teenage characters from ‘91 had to be shown as themselves as well as being controlled by Léa. The actors managed to create a distinguishable gap between the two versions with the help of verbal as well as physical nuances.
The series features a combination of two sci-fi elements that can easily get complicated – body-swapping and time-travel. Despite this, the timeline flows smoothly and does not require much effort to keep track of.
Refusing to stay focused on the workings of the sci-fi elements, the series contains numerous moments that help the audience empathise and connect with the characters in a personal manner. A hint of humour is added as Léa muddles around with strangers’ lives while trying to solve a murder destined to occur in the future.
The show depicts a range of characters in a variety of situations that are easy to spot in our own lives. Every character has their secret which is somehow misunderstood until Léa steps into their shoes and sees things through their eyes. This air of secrecy maintained by those involved keeps Léa and the audience in the dark, groping around for any clues dropped throughout the show.
7 Lives of Lea also deals with a few sensitive themes such as homosexuality and depression but manages to handle them delicately while delving deep into them.
Unlike most time-travel shows, the series chooses to let the protagonist navigate two timelines alternately without the urgency of escaping the past. It evades using the usual tools such as narration or flashbacks to explore the past and instead, lets Léa feel her way through others’ lives and learn more about them doing this.
Set in 2021 and 1991, the series paints the past with an aesthetic retro look and does not go overboard with references. It also features a soundtrack that further helps the audience tell the past and the present apart by using well-known songs from the ongoing year.
The series is an adaptation of Les 7 vies de Léo Belami by Nataël Trapp and alters some details that might let down fans who expected a replica of the book put onto the screen.
Other than this, the series fails to disappoint with an endless list of reasons to watch it.
With a remarkable performance from the cast and a well-planned storyline that branches out just enough to avoid causing confusion and still maintain an air of suspense about the skeleton’s death, the series is an unmissable addition to any viewer’s list.