I saw Woody Allen’s Coup de Chance (now playing) a few weeks ago. It’s basically about unstated but acted-out things, and I was pleased most of the way through because I couldn’t tell where it was going. I knew something unpleasant was in the pipeline, but there are no real tip-offs and I couldn’t guess what what the third act might actually bring. So in that sense I was fully engaged.

But I have to say (although I can’t explain the particulars, which is what most of my notes are focused on) that I didn’t care for the ending.

I would love to explain why the ending didn’t feel right or satisfying to me, and I’d really like to share my own solution (i.e., my own scenario) but I can’t. But overall this is a better-than-decent Woody — not Match Point good but reasonably diverting. And I totally concur, by the way, with Kyle Smith‘s 4.5 Wall Street Journal piece — “Woody Allen’s Cancellation Is a Crime Against Culture.”

Boilerplate: Lou de Laâge‘s Fanny, a young French wife, is feeling empty or even sterile within a marriage to Melvil Poupaud‘s Jean, an exacting and persistent rich guy in his early 40s…one of those “demanding in a quietly ruthless way” sort of guys. Fanny is more or less content because of the affluent comforts and whatnot, but at the same time she’s sensing that this overly comfortable, mostly bloodless relationship is slowly draining her of something vital.

And so despite all the perks and by a stroke of good (or bad) luck she finds herself hanging with Niels Schneider‘s Alain, an ex-boyfriend, and then naturally having sex with him and whatnot. And then all the stuff that inevitably happens when a wife or husband starts regularly lying and covering up…it all kicks in and then some.

I have to add that Woody’s Coup de Chance screenplay often feels a bit on-the-nose and first-drafty, like almost every film he’s written since the turn of the century. I’ve been complaining about this off and on for 20, 25 years. I’ve been saying all along that Woody needs a sharp writing partner…a 40something whippersnapper…a Marshall Brickman or a Douglas McGrath…someone to tell him that in 2023 there’s no such thing as an “only copy” of a novel in progress.

I was fine with Schneider’s boyfriend (a writer) although he’s something of a bland stock character…written rather conventionally, no edges or undercurrents, etc. And Lou’s cheating young wife struck me as brittle and wound too tightly, and she definitely didn’t radiate any of those magnificent-in-bed Grace Kelly vibes. I took one look at her and said “nope…not worth the trouble.”