Woody Allen has released his first foreign language film in the French language Coup de chance (same title in English which means Stroke of Luck). Unfortunately, it is absolutely terrible and we would strongly recommend you avoid it at all costs – don’t gamble on it, it’s just not worth it.
The storyline is mildly interesting but really overdone. Fanny (Lou de Laâge, who was in Black Box at Alliance Française French Film Festival (AFFFF) 2021 and Jappeloup in 2014), a married woman completely by chance bumps into a guy, Alain (Niels Schneider, Love Affair(s) at AFFFF 2021) who she knows from her university days. And so, predictably begins an affair. The point of difference here is in her husband Jean’s behaviour as his suspicions are raised. Melvil Poupaud (from Brother and Sister at AFFFF 2023, The Young Lovers from AFFFF 2022 and Summer 85, AFFFF 2021) is in the role of her husband Jean.
It is concerning that Jean’s menacing, controlling behaviour towards Fanny is there but without any criticism of it. What to most people would be recognised as abusive, coercive control, in Woody Allen’s world, it is merely an impediment to Fanny’s affair.
Woody Allen doesn’t speak French so the script for Coup de chance was written by him in English and then translated by others into French. Even though it is rumoured the actors rewrote parts of it, it simply does not flow like French would. Characters said things that the French would not say in that way.
Using a coloured filter or having everything in a scene a certain colour is a common cinematic tool but in Coup de chance, the scenes were so washed in blue that even the actors’ faces appeared blue! And in an initial scene, the yellow wash made us wonder if the film was set in the 70s. It isn’t. The use of coloured filters is so overdone in Coup de chance and unnecessary it was jarring.
Just as it is over-saturated with primary colours, Coup de chance has ruined a song which I quite liked before the film purely because it is used over and over and over throughout. You would almost think the film only had budget for one song, such is the overuse of Nat Adderley’s Cantaloupe Island.
While the lovers may not be played by well-known French actors, the cast is rounded out with some accomplished French actors such as Valérie Lemercier as (Employee of the Month, AFFFF 2022 and Aline, AFFFF 2021, as well as French classics Milou en Mai and The Visitors) and Guillaume de Tonquédec (Lie with Me and Happy 50, at AFFFF 2023). Accomplished they may be. in Coup de chance these actors appeared completely unnatural and as though they couldn’t act. This is undoubtedly because of the poor script and Woody Allen’s direction. The actors rolled the dice and lost in deciding to accept roles in this film,
Coup de chance is completely overly saturated, unnaturally acted and over-cooked. Don’t waste your luck on this film.
Matilda Marseillaise viewed a screener of Coup de chance
If you’re looking for a good Boxing Day French film, we recommend Two tickets to Greece with the wonderful Laure Calamy and Kirsten Scott-Thomas.
Also, the Alliance Française French Film Festival 2024 is only around the corner. The full program will be released in early February but you can find out about 8 of the films that will be in it in our article via this link.