Happenstance (2000)



Critic Consensus: Though the plot of Happenstance is basically a gimmick, the film is a fun, light-hearted trifle.

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Movie Info

After a series of short films, writer/director Laurent Firode made his feature-length debut with this tale of coincidence, chance, and fate inspired by a variation of the chaos theory, which supposes that if a butterfly beats its wings in one part of the world, it could theoretically cause a full-fledged storm thousands of miles away. Firode applies this theory to a disparate group of Parisians, opening with a young retail worker, Irene (Audrey Tautou), reading her horoscope on the train to work one morning. At the store, Irene has to deal with an elderly woman (Francoise Bertin) who wants to return a broken coffeemaker; as if that weren't enough, the dissatisfied octogenarian consumer has to put up with her impudent grandson, Luc (Eric Feldman). Amidst all the seemingly unrelated human activities in the film, cockroaches, bird droppings, and changes in the weather all conspire to bring the characters together -- or drive them apart, as the case may be.
R (for a scene of nudity)
Art House & International , Comedy , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:


as Younes
Eric Savin
as Richard
Irène Ismaïloff
as Stephanie
Félicité Wouassi
as Security Guard
Franck Bussi
as Waiter
Antoine Coesens
as The Clochard
Saïd Serrari
as The Pickpocket
Lily Boulogne
as Luc's Mother
Gilbert Robin
as The Destiny Man
Manu Layotte
as Cailloux's Lanceurs
Husky Kihal
as The Magazine Owner
Nor-eddin Abboud
as The S.A.V. Salesman
Louison Roblin
as Irene's Neighbor
Felicity Wouassi
as The Vigilant
Manuela Gourary
as Elsa's Mother
Abbdessamad Chahidi
as The Clandestine Moroccan
Sylvie Herbert
as The Nurse
Michael Baladi
as The Waiter from the Coffee Shop
Louise Vincent
as The Gitane
Charlotte Maury Sentier
as The Horoscope Woman
Édith Le Merdy
as The Subway Passenger
Oleg Imbert
as The Male Russian Tourist
Ludmilla Imbert
as The Female Russian Tourist
Françoise Bertin
as Luc's Grandmother
Pierre Bellemare
as Taxi Driver
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Critic Reviews for Happenstance

All Critics (36) | Top Critics (18)

Discreet, delicate and humane: a sweet butterfly of a movie that beats up a cinematic windstorm of life.

May 9, 2002
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

A mild but engaging romance, the charms of which come at you sideways.

March 28, 2002
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

It strives mightily to convince us that the Chaos Theory rules us, yet everything in it feels preordained.

Full Review… | March 15, 2002
Toronto Star
Top Critic

The idea, after all, is that people don't have free will, and who wants to watch puppets, however adorable?

Full Review… | March 15, 2002
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

Each little action, as we see, causes something bigger to happen, resulting in not exactly a tidal wave, but a happy sense of cinematic pleasure.

March 8, 2002
Seattle Times
Top Critic

It's a delight to watch the plot unfold, and to become aware of how a small, random action by one person can impact the life of another.

Full Review… | March 8, 2002
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Happenstance

No, this is not Amelie. Audrey was barely in the film. Lola rennt (Run Lola Run) or Love Actually are more enjoyable examples of this trope.

Drew Ryan
Drew Ryan

I didn't get the feel that Irene was a hopeless romantic, or believed in horoscopes, just that those circumstances where part of the story. It was sweet, and the characters were humorous.

Spencer S.
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer


Kinda funny and sweet.

Leigh Ryan
Leigh Ryan

Super Reviewer

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