38 user 26 critic

Happenstance (2000)

Le battement d'ailes du papillon (original title)
How, thanks to what's known as the "Butterfly theory" (a random series of unlinked events), can a young woman and a young man meet ?



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Faudel ...
Nathalie Besançon ...
Lysiane Meis ...
Irène Ismaïloff ...
Eric Feldman ...
Frédéric Bouraly ...
Franck Bussi ...
The Waiter from the Philosophic Cafe
Marina Tomé ...
Félicité Wouassi ...
The Vigilant
Antoine Coesens ...
The Clochard
Saïd Serrari ...
The Pickpocket
Lily Boulogne ...
Luc's Mother (as Lili Boulogne)
Gilbert Robin ...


Chance, volition, and the large effects of tiny causes swirl through Paris on a single day. A clerk born 11 March 1977 hears her horoscope on the way to work: today she'll meet her true love, but she must be patient. Before the day ends under a full moon, twenty lives intersect time and again in unpredictable, connected ways: a jilted lover holds a souvenir pebble, a stolen coffee maker looks suspicious at a Metro stop, a yellow rain slicker is passed on as a gift, lettuce causes a bicycle accident, a leaf betrays an habitual liar who's just told the truth, and an Algerian waiter, also born 11 March 1977, sees a bug cross a tablecloth. Magical sand from the Sahara is in the air. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

sand | moon | waiter | rain | liar | See All (137) »


Chance, chaos, destiny, fusion, liaisons. See more »


Comedy | Drama | Romance


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

21 June 2000 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Happenstance  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Gross USA:

$125,717, 17 February 2002
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (DVD)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Irène was born on March 11, 1977. See more »


When the old lady takes the faulty coffee machine back to the store it is seen in a Phillips box, when she arrives back home with the same faulty machine it is in a Moulinex box. See more »


The Destiny Man: You see, every detail, every gesture, as slight as it may be, reveals an infinity of truths and thus has an endless repercussion and grandiose effects.
See more »


References Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999) See more »

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User Reviews

Every action has a reaction...and my reaction to this film is--BORING
1 January 2009 | by See all my reviews

A missed train. A wrong phone number. An extra cup of coffee. What happens to those around you when you make a seemingly innocuous decision? Most people don't give it a thought as they absorbed in their own thoughts and actions.

"Happenstance" tells the story of the interrelations and cause-and-effect of the mundane as it pertains to a group of normal Parisian folk. It has all the components of what passes for contemporary theater, with the full cast of the dysfunctional and disillusioned.

There's a cheating husband, an illegal immigrant, a classic slacker, a pickpocket, a crazy grandmother, an annoying girlfriend, a selfish roommate, and a homeless man. Audrey Tautou serves as the erstwhile protagonist (in the sense that she's on camera as much as anyone else and opens and closes the film) and normal girl who just can't seem to find the right rhythm in her life.

She learns at the beginning of her day from a stranger on a train what her horoscope holds for her. What happens to her in the course of the day is told through various characters. Does the prediction come true? The concept is good, but the storytelling is flimsy. The connections from one event to the next are weak. There's better storytelling in 15 seconds of the Liberty Mutual insurance commercial where one person sees a good deed and passes it along to another than there is in two hours of Happenstance.

If you enjoy Audrey Tautou, then you certainly can sacrifice the time for this film, but you'll finish it dissatisfied and wondering what this same storyline could be if it were handled by a better producer and director.

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