Le Battement d'Ailes du Papillon (Happenstance) (The Beating of the Butterfly's Wings)
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Le Battement d'Ailes du Papillon (Happenstance) (The Beating of the Butterfly's Wings)
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… More
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 64%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Discreet, delicate and humane: a sweet butterfly of a movie that beats up a cinematic windstorm of life."
‑ Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune
"The idea, after all, is that people don't have free will, and who wants to watch puppets, however adorable?"
‑ Ray Conlogue, Globe and Mail
"A gimmicky yet remarkably spry and overall enjoyable tapestry about the 'random interconnectedness' of life in general and romance in particular."
‑ Brent Simon, Entertainment Today
"It's silly and slight, but not too sweet, so go take a chance."
‑ Dave White, IFilm
"You could accuse Happenstance of being just a narrative exercise, but it plays out with such a light touch -- and likable cast -- that you can't help but enjoy the ride."
‑ , E! Online
"A mild but engaging romance, the charms of which come at you sideways."
‑ Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer
"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."
‑ Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times
"It's charmless and as against the gentle grain of the New Wave French comedies of the past few years as it's conceivable to be."
‑ William Arnold, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
"Firode comes up with some clever and amusing situations, but his characters are so glum and unlikable it just isn't a whole lot of fun to spend time with then."
‑ Jean Oppenheimer, New Times
"It strives mightily to convince us that the Chaos Theory rules us, yet everything in it feels preordained."
‑ Peter Howell, Toronto Star
"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."
‑ James Berardinelli, ReelViews
"Sheer mechanism propels Happenstance, but the numerous characters and storylines flow and converge in a gracefully unpredictable and witty manner."
‑ Michael Dequina, TheMovieReport.com
"Though fancifully constructed, Happenstance is principally the visualization of a concept, and in the end, more of a moving board game than a movie."
‑ Erica Abeel, Film Journal International