Happenstance Movie Review
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...