With “Coup de chance”, Woody Allen gets lost in an unsurprising vaudeville

Jean (Melvil Poupaud) in “Coup de chance”, by Woody Allen.


Woody Allen’s fiftieth feature film, Stroke of luckis not without mentioning Match Point (2005), from the point of view of the scenario and its male character, ready to coldly kill anyone – always with a hunting rifle – likely to endanger his hard-won bourgeois life. The careerism of the businessman (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), In Match Point, and the psychopathic narcissism of the deceived husband (Melvil Poupaud), in Stroke of luck, take over and overcome other feelings. In both cases, the male hero is a restless person, banking on luck and destiny to sneak into the front row. An everyday traitor with a dual personality, deliberately choosing rather angelic companions, not seeking to know too much.

But the comparison stops there. Match Point enjoyed critical success, but Stroke of luck, which the 87-year-old New York filmmaker came to present at the Venice Film Festival (out of competition), suffers from linear staging and dialogue that sounds false. Is it because, for the first time, Woody Allen is filming in French? Still, the film has the flaws – especially in its first part – of a bad comedy or boulevard theater with its brilliance.

Fanny (Lou de Laagé) and Jean (Melvil Poupaud) love each other, earn a very good living, and their huge apartment is impeccably run by a servant in a white apron – we think we’re dreaming. Autumn arrives in Paris and we have never seen so many dead leaves on the pedestrian paths: a real caramel-colored carpet, quite matching with Lou de Laagé’s copper hair – the shades are thus enhanced throughout the film, the green of the gr, the sunlight, etc. One day, at the bottom of the Champs-Elysées, Fanny meets an old friend, Alain (Niels Schneider), who has become a writer. They talk and decide to meet again…

An expected comedy

Love at first sight on Avenue Montaigne: Alain was already fond of Fanny in high school, and his feelings are still there. Fanny has a well-ordered life, she works in the art market and seems attached to her fifty-year-old husband who showers her with gifts. But she falls under the spell of Alain and his bohemian life. As it should be, the novelist lives in an attic apartment, in a postcard Paris which is reminiscent of the series Emily in Paris. And he has a knack for uttering definitive sentences about chance and the miracle of life.

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