\(director/writer: Woody Allen; cinematographer: Vittorio Storaro; editor: Alisa Lepselter; cast: Lou de Laâge (Fanny), Melvil Poupaud (Jean), Niels Schneider (Alain), Valérie Lemercier (Camille, Fanny’s mom), Sam Mirhosseini (Dragos), Grégory Gadebois (private detective); Runtime: 93; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Letty Aronson, Erika Aronson; A Gravier Productions, Dippermouth; 2023-USA/France-in French with English subtitles)

“It’s shot in French, even though Woody doesn’t speak French.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz


The title translates as “Stroke of Luck.” It’s a tale of doomed lovers. One of the better 87-year-old Woody Allen (“Match Point”/”Blue Jasmine”) films of the last decade. The scandal-ridden director, shunned by Hollywood after accused by his daughter Dylan Farrow of sexual abuse, though it involved no police action. It’s shot in French, even though Woody doesn’t speak French. As Woody is frozen out of Hollywood, he takes his act on the road. He says his 50th film might be his last.

It’s set in Paris, during autumn, and uses French actors. It revolves around the adulterous affair between a bored snaky businessman’s wife Fanny (Lou de Laâge), who toils in an art gallery auction house, lives in a palatial home and is wed to the older, self-made millionaire, Jean (Melvil Poupaud). Her lover is a struggling divorced French writer Alain (Niels Schneider, Canadian) who knew her slightly from high school in NYC, where he had a crush on her. When they by chance meet in the street, they start dating.

As a youth, Fanny lived in NYC, was a bohemian and married a good-for-nothing bohemian drug dealer, before coming to her senses to get a divorce.

The self-deprecating writer gives her poetry speak, as he tells her: “We all get frozen in ice if we don’t act before winter comes.” 

When hubby suspects she’s cheating on him, he hires a private detective (Grégory Gadebois) to follow her. He then shows his cruel side, and the lightweight film goes down a dark path–until reaching a bizarre conclusion, as hubby hires the same thug who killed his business partner, a thug named Dragos (Sam Mirhosseini), to kill the writer and dump his body in the ocean.

There are a number of twists and turns, some usual Woody comedy bits, as the film concludes with an unfulfilling surprise ending.

We learn that the writer believes life is luck, while Jean says we make our own luck. I guess the right answer is somewhere between.

It played at the Venice Film Festival.

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