Mixed or average reviews - based on 21 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 5 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: A cleverly constructed and intricate comedy about how a subtle twist of fate can affect the lives of total strangers, Happenstance ingeniously tracks a group of seemingly unconnected individuals during the course of one long day. (Lot 47 Films)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 21
  2. Negative: 1 out of 21
  1. It brims with the charm, wisdom and light touch that have endeared French films to international audiences for more than a century. It doesn't hurt that its star is "Amelie's" Audrey Tautou.
  2. Stars Audrey Tautou, gaminelike, waiflike, vivid and completely adorable.
  3. The movie is funny, but it's also touching and poetic -- and Bertin's scenes are devastating.
  4. Reviewed by: Leighton Klein
    It has every mark of inspiration by imitation.
  5. Being French, the film at least has indelible details -- something a Hollywood remake would fix but good.
  6. 50
    Ultimately feels like tiny films glued together by events that often test plausibility. The idea wears thin soon, and some of the characters and their tales get lost in the unstoppable domino chain.
  7. Tautou seems tired, mean-spirited and utterly devoid of that Audrey Hepburn-like charm that made her the international movie find of 2001.

See all 21 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Jun 5, 2013
    It’s Audrey Tautou before AMELIE (2001, 9/10), from writer/director Laurent Firode, HAPPENSTANCE is adept in contriving a string of butterflyIt’s Audrey Tautou before AMELIE (2001, 9/10), from writer/director Laurent Firode, HAPPENSTANCE is adept in contriving a string of butterfly effects engendered among two dozens of people in one day until at the very end concludes with a boy-meet-girl scenario, they share the same birthday and meet earlier in the morning, then fate brings them together in its unique design, with a bruised nose.

    The brisk premise of a horoscopic premonition is intriguing, the pace is upbeat and the camera is restless in introducing a kaleidoscope of quirky dramatis personae into the stage one after another, bewildering sometimes, then once we get a hold of that it is an assemble piece whose mainstay is hanging on a thin theory of unwitting behavior’s chain-reaction, its allure begins to dwindle, the desultory contrivance oversteps the original intention of “an accidental slice-of-life”, the story is totally at the disposal of writer’s wild and arbitrary imagination as long as the circle meets its end in the coda (not such a demanding request for one who is capable of imagining), which could be assessed as an artistic shortchange fails to meet the face value of a feature film, a concise short form is enough to spread this one-track mind precept.

    There are no clear leads inasmuch as the bulky cast, so besides Tautou and Faudel’s belated encounter, other threads never have their own closures, e.g. Eric Feldman’s mendacious museum guard and Eric Savin’s wavering husband, neither find their answers in their respective stores. Maybe it is what happens in real life, but as an entity, the loose-ends are despondent and incompetent. Luckily, the film should be merited for its variegated caricature of human behaviors, mostly are transient due to the repetitive structure, nevertheless the film entertains audiences in its down-to-earth earnestness and leaves us a wistful sigh only if fatalism could dominate the world, life would be much easier and simpler!

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