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First-time director Carine Tardieu's gentle and evocative coming-of-ager La Tête de Maman concerns Lulu (Chloë Couloud), an adolescent girl whose mother (Karin Viard) sits perpetually on the brink of illness and radiates unhappiness; she is resolutely unhappy with her husband, unhappy with the present state of her life.
Concerned about her mom's emotional condition, Lulu discovers an old photograph that suggests the source of her dissatisfaction: a love affair gone sour with a young man who abandoned her, several years before Lulu's birth.
To win back her mother's smile, Lulu sets out to locate her mom's old boyfriend - now a middle-aged veterinarian - and bring him back to her mother's side. She also discovers, over the course of this mission, that her mom is now suffering from a terminal illness and sits at death's door.
The character of Lulu narrates throughout, and periodically defers, in the midst of dilemmas, to her heroine, the model-turned-actress Jane Birkin (who appears from time to time, playing herself).