‘Coup de Chance’ Review: Woody Allen’s Latest Is Just Mediocre — but Still Deserves to Be Seen

American filmmaker and director Woody Allen presents his movie Coup de Chance in Barcelona
Adria Puig/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Woody Allen has created an undeniable masterpiece that explores the darkest recesses of adultery, murder, the guilt that consumes us, and the unexpected bit of luck that can exonerate us. Seamlessly weaving it all together, he’s crafted his most morally and artistically accomplished movie.

That movie is Crimes and Misdemeanors. His 1989 release ranks (along with Manhattan) as his best work, for my money. His new movie Coup de Chance (Stroke of Luck) features many of the same themes and plot points as Crimes but falls far short in terms of inspiration and execution.

Nor does Coup de Chance live up to the lesser Match Point, to which it bears an even closer resemblance, especially in its focus on luck as the prime mover in human destiny. Allen is revisiting old ground to diminishing returns.

The most that can be said about Coup de Chance is that it is miles better than Rifkin’s Festival, Allen’s previous effort — and, for my money, his worst.

It’s been more than a decade since Allen’s last truly great film Blue Jasmine. This has made it increasingly difficult for artistic freedom advocates to continue defending him in the face of the cancel mob. Like his last two movies, Coup de Chance was barely released in a handful of cinemas in the U.S. before going straight to streaming — the latest installment in the ongoing campaign to destroy the 88-year-old filmmaker’s legacy.

But even mediocre movies deserve to be seen, if only for the public to exercise the right to form its own opinions. The left wants to take that right from you by canceling Woody and de facto censoring his movies, based solely on child sex abuse accusations from ex Mia Farrow and daughter Dylan that have never been proven in court. The Connecticut prosecutor even declined to bring charges against Allen.

Set in France and featuring an entirely French cast, Coup de Chance marks Allen’s first foreign-language film. But it feels instantly familiar — wealthy, over-educated urbanites face romantic dilemmas, talk a lot about it, swap beds, and wind up regretting it in the end. It could have just as easily been set in Allen’s Upper East Side home turf.

The heroine is, in fact, an ex-New Yorker. Twenty-something Fanny Fournier (Lou de Laâge) is a former Lycée Français de New York student who now lives in Paris with her husband Jean (Melvil Poupaud), a stupendously wealthy but shady man of finance.

In the opening scene, Fanny runs into former classmate Alain (Niels Schneider), a writer who confesses his longtime crush. The two start innocently with a series of lunches. Fanny — who is vaguely dissatisfied with her resplendent life and feels that marriage shouldn’t be work — is not looking for an affair, but her lack of direction allows the inevitable to happen. Soon, they are meeting for regular trysts in Alain’s artist loft.

Fanny’s mounting sense of guilt alerts Jean that something is amiss, and matters quickly spiral out of control, especially when Fanny’s mother (Valérie Lemercier) gets involved.

The actors who have fared the best in Woody Allen movies are the ones who don’t try to imitate Woody Allen. They bring their own distinct rhythm to the filmmaker’s familiar cadences — like Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine or Martin Landau in Crimes and Misdemeanors. Selena Gomez made A Rainy Day in New York watchable simply by being herself.

Coup de Chance’s French cast, thankfully, doesn’t try to imitate Woody. But neither do they make their pampered characters memorable in any way. A lot of this is Allen’s fault. Like too many of his recent movies, this one feels like a first draft that went before the cameras far too soon. The characters feel like faded facsimiles of his more interesting creations from decades ago.

In the end, what lingers in the mind is Vittorio Storaro’s cinematography and the vintage soundtrack that shows Allen’s jazz connoisseurship hasn’t faltered — even if his filmmaking has.

By all means, see Coup de Chance. Stick it to the cultural cancel mob. But then re-watch Crimes and Misdemeanors for a reminder of Woody at his peak.

Follow David Ng on Twitter @HeyItsDavidNg. Have a tip? Contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Authored by David Ng via Breitbart April 19th 2024