Coup de Chance Movie Review: He Caught His Wife Having an Affair with Their Marriage Counselor

Woody Allen’s 50th feature film, Coup de Chance (Stroke of Luck), is a comedic thriller that opens, of course, with a chance encounter on the streets of Paris. Fanny Fournier (Lou de Laage) runs into an old school friend while on her way to work. The man, Alain Aubert (Neils Schneider), is very quick to tell Fanny he has loved her since back in their school days. They begin to have lunch together; Alain flirts constantly and charmingly, and it is not long before the two are having a passionate and loving affair.

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The only hitch is that Fanny is “happily” married to multi-millionaire financier Jean Fournier (Melvil Poupaud). Jean is a loving and doting husband, but he has a complicated past. Years ago, Jean’s business partner disappeared under suspicious circumstances only for his body to wash up on shore a week later. All sorts of rumors surround the disappearance, including suicide and even murder. Many of his own friends believe Jean had plenty to gain from his partner’s death.

Fanny seems to be acting strangely at home and is never around anymore to go to lunch with her husband, so Jean hires private detectives to follow Fanny. It does not take long to break the case. Jean has some seriously shady friends who are able to make Alain disappear forever. Fanny thinks she has been jilted, but Fanny’s mother, Camille (Valerie Lamercier), is a bit of a sleuth herself and begins to unravel the threads Jean has left behind.

Coup de Chance covers familiar themes and questions for Woody Allen that he first started asking in Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989). Are we ruled by chance and coincidence? What takes skill and what is left simply to luck? Who among us will literally be allowed to get away with murder?

Locations and set design are wonderful throughout. Paris is a great background for both a romance and a murder mystery. Jokes are sprinkled here and there and they all pack a punch. But most important is that Allen is a master of the small moment. He directs your eye with keen precision, leaving us to wonder about the sly glance, or the way a character takes off their gloves. For a movie concerned so much with luck, it seems obvious that only skill and expertise were needed for its creation.

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Greg Hammond

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