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Le Battement D’ailes du Papillon (Happenstance) | Review

Cute-as-a-button Audrey Tatou (Le Fabuleux Destin D’Amélie Poulain) is Irène, the girl with eyes full of hope who learns of her destiny to meet with her significant other by way of a metro-morning-horoscope reading. Instead of a love at first sight scenario, she encounters a punch-in-the-stomach string of events-which would be is equivalent to a month’s worth of bad luck. In less than twenty-four hours, Irène loses her job, gets locked out for the night and manages to make a Tarot card reader fall asleep. The stars don’t do much for her destined love who’s restaurant business is in bad shape and has very little to look forward to. Include about another dozen or so characters, and we have this domino effect of unforced deeds and actions that change the life of everyone who is implicated. As the films title suggests, (the Beating of the Butterfly’s Wings) the littlest of actions-no matter how minuscule it is, can have a major impact on the lives in which it involves. The differences are either minor changes in luck or major life repercussions. Director Laurent Firode gives the film a very human touch, Parisians of every demographic possible are shown at their best and in their worst of instances. He doesn’t give it the Amelie touch where everything is techni-colored bright; instead these are regular people with ugly and beautiful souls displaying how the ying and the yang affect all. But can Firode’s story about fate hold up for the film’s entire length?

Le Battement D’ailes du Papillon is sweet enough to get the viewer interested, but winds up suffering from a little too much sugar-coating of this advertised “film concept”. The first half being mildly entertaining, while the second half seems to be a showcase of sorts, for acting first-timer and popular singer, Faudel. It seems that there was a little too much ’cause and effect’ of occurrences rather than simple ‘effect’ on the characters. The rest of the film could have been filled up by concentrating on a selected few characters with a closer examination of their dealings with fate and introduce a smaller ratio of incidents and consequence rather than the many snapshots of characters that we have no opportunity in discovering. It is not by giving more examples and repeating the pattern in every color of blue that you can get your point across- and with a narrative that sounds more like a segment out of the Oprah show, you can help but wonder when the film is going to end- and when the films does come to la fin, it suffers from it’s own hackneyed storyline.

Rating 1.5 stars

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Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist and critic at (founded in 2000). Eric is a regular at Sundance, Cannes and TIFF. He has a BFA in Film Studies at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013 he served as a Narrative Competition Jury Member at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson's This Teacher (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022 he served as a New Flesh Comp for Best First Feature at the 2022 Fantasia Intl. Film Festival. Current top films for 2022 include Tár (Todd Field), All That Breathes (Shaunak Sen), Aftersun (Charlotte Wells).

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