April 22, 2024

Coup de Chance 2024 Movie Review

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Coup de Chance 2024 Movie Review

Fanny Fournier, a young woman married to a shady financier, is surprised to encounter an old schoolfriend, Alain, on the street one day. He casually references a crush he had on her back then, and suggests they catch up sometime. She starts to reflect on how her life could have been different if Alain had spoken up. Fanny characterises herself as a rebel, husband Jean comes across as more of a social climber.

After the initial long takes there are brittle little scenes in the country when Fanny’s husband goes shooting in the woods. Then we’re rushed back to the city, so that you can almost hear the neurotically urbane director gasping, “Phew!”

Fanny and Alain go, not for a working lunch together, rather a walking lunch, during which Alain talks about how ironical existence is. Does the fact that he does so in French instead of English make it less of a cliché? [Discuss.] Is it ironic that we have to watch husband Jean show off his model train set twice? Over successive lunches Alain talks about his youthful yearning for Fanny, and husband Jean isn’t exactly indifferent to her either. She complains, “Sometimes I feel like a trophy wife.” She’s clearly restless. We see Fanny alone on a sofa, staring into space as the camera smoothly zooms in to the sound of smooth jazz. [Cut.] Alain’s gift of a poetry book reminds me of Elliot and Lee in Hannah & Her Sisters. Are we are on the verge of a reluctant affair? What will happen if Jean finds out? With his head buried in his train set, will he even notice?

Alain does rather harp on about his emotional dreaming after Fanny. It’s a wonder she doesn’t get bored. And why no kids? There are so rarely children in the stories where Woody wants to explore one of his old stand-bys: chronic dissatisfaction. We keep seeing Alain buying things for Fanny with his coins: chestnuts, an old poetry volume, a single flower instead of a bouquet. A lotto ticket, for given the chance of being born is so small, in effect you’ve already lucked out, so how can you lose?! I’ve not got my fingers crossed for this couple.

Allen wisely energises Coup de Chance with more modern, extrovert jazz than, for example, the soporific song used to open Midnight in Paris. Still fairly mellow though (Cantaloupe Island multiple times in the first half an hour). The mise-en-scene is also a happy blend of rich, contrasted colour and soft, sensuous lighting. When Fanny confesses to a friend her burgeoning affair the other woman remarks upon the irony (we all thought you and Jean were the perfect couple). The image, when it arrives, of Jean doing his angry cuckold face is decidedly comic. Intentionally so? Everything about this movie has an aura of unreality about it, even the aforementioned lighting. The model train set reminds me of the idiots in Le Diner de Cons, their boring hobbies, but many commentators related it to the notorious allegation that still follows Allen around. Trains that go round and round like a journey/story/delusion that goes nowhere?

By my reckoning, Coup de Chance falls short of the more focussed storytelling achieved in its British predecessor, Match Point (2005). The subject of luck has been preoccupying Allen a long time, and this movie, if it is his last, is a satisfactory summation of his late period. It even nods to the Moose skit from his old standup comedy album, from way back in the 1960s. Lou de Laâge and Melvil Poupaud offer compelling performances as Fanny and Jean. Ace cinematographer Vittorio Storaro puts a cosy glow on proceedings and all credit to whomsoever is responsible for set dressing and costumes. And everything sounds sexier in French, n’est-ce pas?

No masterpiece but a better film than its predecessor, Rifkin’s Festival. Allen enthusiasts will find little that is new but sights and sounds to enjoy.

Coup de Chance 2024 Movie Review