Happenstance Image

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)


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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 21
  2. Negative: 1 out of 21
  1. Stars Audrey Tautou, gaminelike, waiflike, vivid and completely adorable.
  2. 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.
  3. Mild but engaging romance.
  4. 63
    That is not an original idea, for sure. But the ensemble cast -- especially Tatou as a 24-year-old store clerk named Irene -- is personable and the Parisian ambiance is catching.
  5. 60
    Fate plays both prankster and deliverer in Firode's never-too-clever scheme, buoyed, like his often-winsome images, by romantic fancy.
  6. 50
    Like several recent films, Happenstance draws on chaos theory as an inspiration, musing on the slim difference between random chance and fate and trotting out the old chestnut about the flapping of butterfly wings causing a tsunami.
  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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