Happenstance-another film with Audrey Tautou about destiny versus chance or vice versa- by no coincidence having opened the same week as Amélie, hoping to cash in on a percentage of the recently descried Tautou fans in their hopefully newfound monomaniacal obsession.In France it is known as Le Battement d’Ailes du Papillon, translation: The Beating of the Butterfly’s Wings, which is argued to be able to cause typhoons across the oceans (it had a cute tagline: “Merde happens”). Those are the little things that director Laurent Firode uses as his contention for the fate/free will argument, and he stands on the side of “everything happens for a reason”; whether it’s a thrown-away shoe knocked to the ground, a stolen coffeemaker abandoned in a train station, a pigeon defecating on a photograph, a cockroach climbing into a purse, a woman cutting up all of the letters in a prospective boyfriend’s first and last name only to rearrange them and find out it spells “asshole,” etc., all these things lead up to the bigger picture: what’s gonna happen is gonna happen. As we follow the chances of fate, apparently unable to upset the order of the world if every action has its reason and significance, we loop-de-loop around an interchangeable group of characters, unlike those in Amélie, all pretty miserable with negative outlooks. Tautou doesn’t crack her winning smile for nearly the entire movie, which results by being no more than a tolerable, transient little headache, one that is puny in size of more developed films that contend the same theme, such as Run Lola Run, Sliding Doors, The Princess and the Warrior, and what I one day hope to prove is the same for Smoking/No Smoking. Happenstance, in the case of Firode, was then apparently made to be nothing more than a sufferable rechauffé oscitancy.
With Eric Savin and Lysaine Meis.Final Verdict: C.