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.
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