Absolutely lovely film!
Steven Stanley | Alhambra (Los Angeles), CA | 12/27/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I enjoyed As Luck Would Have It (Le Hasard Fait Bien Les Choses) so much, I watched it two days in a row. It's that lovely a film, and hard to believe that it was made for TV, though from a few other French TV movies I've seen, I shouldn't be surprised.
Jean-Claude Brialy (a French actor with a superb resume dating back to the 50s) portrays Jean-Pierre, a university professor of a generation for whom being gay had to remain a deep dark secret. Brialy would seem to have everything, a satisfying and prestigious job, a luxurious apartment, a caring housekeeper, and a very handsome and much younger Cuban boyfriend Armando, played by dancer Antonio Interlandi. But rather than be proud of this relationship, he hides it from the world, to the consternation of Armando.
Fate (Le Hasard) intervenes when Jean-Pierre is obligated by law to take charge of Antoine, a musically talented 17 year old orphan, played by Julien Bravo. In order to squirm out of this obligation, Jean-Pierre asks his long absent wife (yes, he married 10 years ago to satisfy his mother and to give Alice (Sabine Haudepin) Swiss citizenship) to help convince the judge that his is not a proper home for Antoine.
At times this film reminded me of The Birdcage (because as in that film, Jean-Pierre must hide his gay relationship from a world he fears will not understand it). The resemblance is only superficial, though, as As Luck Would Have It never allows its characters to become stereotypes.
I did wonder for a minute if an overweight 60ish closeted professor could possibly have such a handsome and well-built 30something boyfriend in the real world, however casting that doubt aside (Brialy has been a movie star leading man for well over 40 years, after all), the film won me over with its warmth and humor.
Besides Brialy, who is excellent as one would imagine, there is also Interlandi, who creates a truly believable gay character, never overplaying Armando's gayness (I'd be surprised if the actor turned out to be straight, he's that spot on perfect). Haudepin, who apparently began her career as a child actress, is a wonderful comedienne; Elena Noverraz has lovely moments as Jean-Pierre's Portuguese maid, who suspects a lot more than J-P could imagine; and young Julien Bravo, in his first film, shows both talent and movie star looks (the camera loves him) as the initially rebellious Antoine.
There are many comic moments in this movie, but ultimately it was the heart-warming ones that truly got to me. Get your handkerchiefs ready for the last 20 minutes of the film! This is a great film for gay and straight audiences alike, with a wonderful message of love and acceptance, and a film that gives hope that yes, things are actually changing for the better, at least in certain parts of the world."
A Warm, Sensitive, Genteel Human Comedy
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 03/11/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"'Le Hasard Fait Bien Les Choses' (AS LUCK WOULD HAVE IT) is a thoroughly surprising film. The marketing ploy makes this very well written (Julie Gilbert and Philippe Le Dem) and well directed (Lorenzo Gabriele) seem to be something it is not - a flashy fleshy gay flick from France. But what the viewer discovers soon after the film begins is a very tender story about the conflicts older gay men face in attempting to manage professional lives with personal lives.
Jean-Pierre Muller (the gifted Jean-Claude Brialy) is a highly respected professor in his late 50s who is about to be honored for his achievements in teaching by the University. He is a proper gentleman and kind human being who hides his personal life: he is gay and has a quasi live-in lover Armando (Antonio Interlandi) in a very successful though closeted relationship for appearance's sake (even his longtime housekeeper Ana - Elena Noverraz - apparently doesn't know)! All is smooth until a handsome young lad Antoine (Julien Bravo) is put before the court system as a minor who has lost his parents and needs an assigned guardian. In a strange law the judge (Anne Kreis) selects a random name (Jean-Pierre, of course) to be the guardian. Though Jean-Pierre is reluctant to accept guardianship for the somewhat feisty lad (who is encouraged by his girlfriend Samantha - Lorriane Cherpillod - to try to get some cash from the court order), he discovers that he cannot appeal the decision for three months time. Desperate to continue his progress towards his desired honorary degree AND to keep his sexuality secret form the courts fearing they may hamper his chances, Jean-Pierre calls his 'arranged wife' Alice (Sabine Haudepin), whom he married to aid Alice's immigration status years ago, to be his 'front'. Alice, just dumped by her lover Grégoire (Juan-Antonio Crespillo) agrees, moves in much to Armando's chagrin, and the facade is in place. What occurs in this 'arrangement' is the resolution of each of the individual components in a manner that shows us that dignity, love, self-respect, and honesty are infectious and benefit all of us.
The cast is uniformly excellent without a weak link. Jean-Claude Brialy is superb as the self-conscious but loving centerpiece, and the air of comedy and sensitivity conveyed by Sabine Haudepin, Antonio Interlandi, Elena Noverraz, newcomer and very promising Julien Bravo, and Anne Kreis are pitch perfect without ever stooping to stereotypes. This is a film for both gay and straight audiences who appreciate the manifestations of love, healthy relationships, caring, social problems, and understanding would enjoy. In French with English subtitles and unfortunately no extras on the DVD. Recommended. Grady Harp, March 06"
GEORGE RANNIE | DENVER, COLORADO United States | 02/02/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"As Luck Would have it" is a sweet French-Swiss movie (in French with subtitles) that does not try to raise or solve any "Heavy duty" gay/straight issues. To me, it is merely light entertainment that tells a very familiar (especially to me) "gay story. "As Luck Would have it" is a "Coming Out" movie that for once is NOT about a pubecent's dealing with his or her homosexuality but it IS about a late 50ish or early 60ish man having to deal with the fact that he is gay and the fact that life is indeed far more simple with no hidden major secrets. Jean-Pierre is a late 50ish (or 60ish) gay man that thinks he has his life "all together"-no pertinent people know that he's gay, he's got a hot male lover and he is in line for important career fulfillment and/or advancement that he thinks would be threatened if the pertinent people knew that he was gay. In other words even though he is living basically a lie, life seems to be good or it is as good as it gets for a closeted older gay man. As happens in this kind of movie, his life is turned up-side-down. In this case, this older gay man's life is turned inside out by a very young straight kid who is desperately in need of a good father figure in his life even if that potential father figure happens to be gay. There are of course many very funny complications from an ex-wife, current boyfriend, young girl's father, etc., with all in the end resolving happily especially for Jean-Pierre. The "path" to a happy ending is filled with many hysterical moments that kept this viewer laughing out loud! The film has a wonderful bunch of actors displaying great comic timing. I especially loved the Cuban lover as played by Interlandi. Interlandi, as Armando is hysterical without ever being stereotypically "over-the-top". Sabine Haudepin, as Jean Pierre's non-consummated wife is wonderful having her own set of hysterical "needs". (My god, she's funny!) Jean-Claude Brialy, as Jean Pierre is also great with find comic timing In fact, all of the actors turn in very fine performances. The film indeed reminded me of a French "Bird Cage": however, "As Luck Would have it" exhibits, to me, far more warmth/love and far less stereotypes than the aforesaid American movie. For a fun filled movie that does NOT preach but only entertains everyone (gay or straight) you can't go wrong with this French-Swiss movie.
Sweet romantic comedy
Bob Lind | Phoenix, AZ United States | 01/13/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Jean-Pierre is a closeted gay university professor in his 50's, who has a hot 30-something Cuban boyfriend, Armando. Life becomes complicated for Jean-Pierre in "Le Hasard Fait Bien Les Choses" ("As Luck Would Have It"), a 2002 French-Swiss film, when he is appointed at random to be the legal guardian of street-smart 17 year old Antoine. Complicating the matter is the fact that records show that Jean-Pierre is technically married to a woman, a "marriage of convenience" years ago to allow her to gain Swiss citizenship. He can appeal the appointment as guardian, but it means further scrutiny to his life, having to have his wife (who is going through a nasty breakup from her lawyer boyfriend) available when a social worker comes to investigate his petition. Armando wants Jean-Pierre to be honest about his sexuality, but the older man fears loss of an important position at the university, and has been "living a lie" for so long that it has become second nature. As has been the case in many other gay comedies, such lies tend to get complicated, leading to misunderstandings between the lovers, blackmail from the father of Antoine's girlfriend, and a near fistfight with his wife's jealous ex-boyfriend. It also results in many laughs, in this delightful romantic comedy, beautifully photographed and delivered by a talented French cast, definitely more than one would expect from a film originally made for television.
DVD is in French with English or Spanish subtitles, no extras other than studio trailers. Rated R, no nudity or explicit scenes. I'd give it 4 stars out of 5."