Happenstance

"OK"

Happenstance Review


Happenstance is a winsome but slight French melodrama that examines the serendipitous nature of several characters whose paths cross intermittently during a 24-hour period. Writer-director Laurent Firode weaves this quirky tale of random existential occurrences with savoir faire. However, Firode's movie feels like a series of gimmicky vignettes cobbled together for a hopefully whimsical effect. The film is cheeky and has an occasional flair for creating a chain reaction of wryly comical verve, but Happenstance ends up an atmospheric, plotless movie that masquerades as an eccentric Parisian character study of roving souls.

Of course, fate has been explored in the movies before, and Happenstance methodically moves its irreverent players around like pawns on a chess board. We get a peek at a collective bunch of free-spirits: twentysomething store clerk Irene (Audrey Tautou from Amelie) who is told that she'll meet her soulmate thanks to a horoscopic hunch, a tempermental waiter (European singing sensation Faudel), a recently employed museum security guard (Eric Feldman), a philandering husband, a bar-hopping patron, and a slew of subway riders who all experience the happenstance in question.

Happenstance is one of those colorful, wispy French comedies that likes to stroke the broad sensibilities of its playful convictions. Firode provides the mischievous mayhem, but it all becomes a tad dippy in its interpretation of philosophical flightiness.

There are a few heavy-handed scenes that try to spark some surreal edginess, but they end up missing the mark. For instance, the motif of pigeons excreting waste at will is meant to represent the shedding of one's burden. And when you have a homeless man playing the role of a park bench Confucius by spouting wisdom about what a spontaneous act can create, then you know that Firode's sense of conceptual insight is stretched a bit thin.

The film's French title Le Battement d'ailes du papillon roughly translates into "the beating of butterfly wings". And that's what the movie tries to do effortlessly -- flap itself all over the place in one motion. Alas, it meanders way too long to make its clairvoyant point. The performances are steady and reliable, particularly Tautou as the gamine working gal searching for that elusive companion and Faudel's gamy restaurant worker.

Aka The Beating of the Butterfly's Wings.

If, by chance, you encounter a razor...



Facts and Figures

Run time: 90 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 21st June 2000

Distributed by: Lot 47 Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 64%
Fresh: 23 Rotten: 13

IMDB: 6.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

With its fifth feature-length adventure, this franchise continues its preposterous journey at full tilt. As...

Keanu Movie Review

Keanu Movie Review

An entertaining hybrid of satirical comedy and action thriller, this madcap adventure swerves wildly between...

Ghostbusters Movie Review

Ghostbusters Movie Review

It's been more than 30 years since the Ghostbusters first hit the big screen with...

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

While the original 2013 magical caper was a big hit, it's style-over-substance approach didn't exactly...

Advertisement
The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

It's been nearly 30 years since the last live-action Tarzan movie, and yet it still...

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

A New York comedy with vivid characters and a contrived plot, this feels rather a...

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Nearly 25 years after the sitcom debuted, Edina and Patsy arrive on the big screen...

Central Intelligence Movie Review

Central Intelligence Movie Review

After teaming up with Will Ferrell for Get Hard and Ice Cube for two Ride...

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

Based on a true story, this Chilean drama has a chilling edge to it that's...

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Two decades is a long time to wait for a sequel, especially one starring much...

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

This movie is based on a real meeting between Elvis Presley and Richard Nixon in...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.