Happenstance | Chicago Reader

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Because this film stars Audrey Tautou and focuses on the seemingly random interconnections of life, comparisons with Amelie seem inevitable. Writer-director Laurent Firode lacks the over-the-top flair of Jean-Pierre Jeunet, but his film is still a pleasurable meditation on fate and chance. Here Tautou plays a store clerk who one morning while riding the Paris metro is read a horoscope that predicts she'll meet her true love that day. Unbeknownst to her, the young man sitting across from her shares her birthday and horoscope. The film follows them and a large cast of characters through events that slowly but surely lead the two back to each other. 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. Firode deftly juggles his dozen characters—and wisely keeps his act short and sweet. In French with subtitles. 90 min.

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