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I saw Chocolat again last night. I had forgotten how lovely a movie it is!
People need stories like this these days.
Some other viewers have complained about the predictability of the plot. I don't think it's any more predictable than an average Hollywood film; I find most action films much more predictable and shallow.
The most beautiful thing about the movie (as about Hallström movies generally) is the wise, warm-hearted story about things that matter: love, sincerity, tolerance, standing up for the things you believe are righteous and good, and enjoying the simple pleasures in life, like a good dinner with friends, or like chocolate :) And Hallström tells his stories so delicately, in his very own style, with fine nuances and a twinkle of humour in his eye. Binoche, Dench, Depp, Molina, Thivisol etc. are fantastic.
I'm so glad I saw the movie. It always makes me think and feel a lot.
I had heard all the rave reviews, saw the number of Oscar nominations this
flick received but still wasn't convinced it was a movie I'd like. I want
to kick myself now for waiting this long to see it! Yes, I forsook the
screen for the video but I wasn't disappointed a bit.
Chocolat is a wonderful movie. It deals with real issues that people face. The characters are believable because they have flaws. They've got inward struggles which makes this film even better. It's a story of the human condition and how even deep prejudices can be overcome by the simple act of kindness and the willingness to strive for individuality.
I have to admit the only reason I wanted to watch this movie at first was because of Johnny Depp. I have to say I loved his performance as Roux. I wished the writers would've done more with his character but what we did get to feast on was incredible. Juliette Binoche was also incredible as Vianne and the chemistry between all the actors was great.
I would recommend Chocolat. If you haven't seen it, what are you waiting for? It's great to see there are still film makers out there that have a sense of humanity. Chocolat is all of that and more.
Chocolat was indeed Mmmm, Mmmm, good!!
**** out of ****
Chocolat gives new meaning to one of my favorite film phrases eye candy. As the title would suggest it is a very sweet film, and not only for the gobs and gobs of luscious, mouthwatering, little morsels. There are parts of the film that look like they could belong to a particularly delectable episode of `Martha Stewart Living', but if you can get past the pangs of hunger it will certainly inflict, you will find there is a lot more to this seemingly charming and simple story.
The film plays in the style of all whimsical children's fairy tales, while at the same time blending in a series of very serious adult themes. It chronicles the exploits of single mother Vianne Rocher, played as usual to a wonderful effect by Juliette Binoche, and her sugary but confused 6-year-old daughter Anouk (Victoire Thivisol), who blow in on a forceful winter wind to the small rural French town of Lansquenet-sous-Tannes. There they open a small chocolate shop. Now this seems innocent enough but the people of the town have different views. For one the shop has been opened at the very unwelcomed time of Lent (a religious fast), during which new temptations certainly aren't invited. Secondly the town's new residents refuse to attend the Sunday morning worship service. Vianne soon finds herself to be the center of the town gossip and distaste, led by the mayor (Alfred Molina). The battle heats up between allegedly pagan Vianne, and the highly conservative, stuffed-shirt townspeople. At start it seems the Rochers are losing, but the fight soon turns as the townsfolk begin to discover the mouth-melting effects of Vianne's wonderful taste-teasing treats.
Misadventure after misadventure occur as the couple come in contact with a wide array of colorful characters (just when you think he must be an extra in comes Johnny Depp), solving their problems while at the same time selling their chocolates. The moral is left fairly open, and can be interpreted in many ways. My personal views are these: That to be good and righteous, doesn't mean you can't be different, you should accept everyone, not necessarily for who they are, but for what they are, human beings. Everyone deserves a proper chance. In the end all characters realize the error of their ways and live together happily and harmoniously.
Chocolat has opened to mixed reviews. Some critics find it to be overly simple, but I think that it is the movie's simplicity that drives it to become so charmingly enthralling. Granted at times it does become at bit silly, but it all ends to a good warm effect. Apparently the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences share my views as the film was nominated for five academy awards, Best Picture, Best Actress (Binoche), Best Supporting Actress (Judi Dench), Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Score.
Chocolat is a mouthwatering piece of movie magic. Definitely worth a look! It has it's flaws but they are easily covered up by it's great performances (particularly by Binoche), beautiful scenery, giddy musical score, and delightful story. Oh, and those wonderful chocolates.
A film to awaken the senses and stimulate the sweet tooth, `Chocolat,' directed by Lasse Hallstrom and starring Juliette Binoche. is both a sensuous and sensational delight. In the mid 50s, as if borne on the winds of fate, a somewhat mysterious woman arrives in a small town in France, with a young daughter, Anouk (Victoire Thivisol) in tow and a special talent that soon has the townsfolk in quite a stir. Binoche is Vianne Rocher, a woman who uses her exotic recipe for chocolate to unlock the repressed sensibilities of the predominately Catholic citizenry, heretofore kept under the rigid and righteous thumb of the Mayor, Comte de Reynaud (Alfred Molina), with no respite or help, even from the town's young and inexperienced priest, Pere Henri (Hugh O'Conor). And because Vianne has the audacity to open her chocolate shop during Lent, when of course her sumptuous treats are forbidden, she quickly runs afoul of the Mayor and a battle of wills between the two ensues. Her chocolates are irresistible, but the Mayor has tradition and religion on his side, and it puts the free-spirited Vianne-- who has something of the gypsy in her-- to the test. As a director, Hallstrom has just the right touch that brings out the best this story has to offer, which is to say, quite a bit. It's an affecting and funny movie that will touch you emotionally as it involves you with the characters; Hallstrom knows what buttons to push and when, and it works splendidly. There's a touch of mystery surrounding Vianne that underscores the sensitivity of the story, and Hallstrom never allows it to become maudlin, which successfully maintains the integrity of the drama. And there are moments throughout the film that evoke an almost dream-like sense of pacification that draw you in as you indulge in the mouth watering visual pleasures of the chocolate. Be forewarned, though, it's a tough one for diabetics to watch. What Hallstrom also has going for him in this one is an absolutely exquisite cast, many of whom give Oscar worthy, memorable performances, beginning with the superb Juliette Binoche. There's an earthy, enigmatic and classic sense of beauty about her that make her presence on screen captivating; she's simply a joy to behold. Judi Dench (Amande), meanwhile, does a terrific character turn as a mother whose daughter, Caroline (Carrie-Anne Moss), deems her an embarrassment and a bad influence on her son, Luc (Aurelien Parent-Koening), and Lena Olin (Josephine) is outstanding as well, as an unhappy woman who finds hope in Vianne's undaunted spirit. Three extraordinary performances from gifted actresses that should be recognized with Oscar nominations. And Molina, too, as the narrow minded Comte, gives possibly the best performance of his career, while Johnny Depp (Roux) lends some charm as the leader of a roving community of river people. Rounding out the supporting cast are John Wood (Guillaume), Peter Stormare (Serge) and Leslie Caron (Madame Audel). Possibly the `sweetest' film of the year, as well as one of the best, `Chocolat' is a visual and emotional triumph that will warm your heart and make your taste buds salivate, with a story and characters as rich and satisfying as the candy they embrace. It's a film with a human touch whose images and sensitivity will remain with you long after the screen has gone dark; an uplifting, entertaining movie that proves that the answers to the mysteries of life just may be found in that box of chocolates, after all. I rate this one 10/10.
I have only seen this movie for the first time today. I have to admit that I hesitated somewhat as I did not believe I would like it because it was described to me as a 'chick flick', a genre I do not subscribe to even though I am a girl. How wrong was that description. I loved the film, the story, the scenery. Such genuine & diverse characters. The actors chosen were perfect for their roles, I cannot imagine anyone else playing the parts. The DVD I had was borrowed, but I intend to buy a copy for myself as it would fit into my small library of movies. I have to see it again & this time I will share the experience with my partner as I know he will appreciate the story. Lida
We all have our vices. Vices make us complete human beings. We can
surpress them and deny them, but we can't quite run away from them. Does it
not strike you as a little humorous when someone looks at a menu, knows
exactly what they want, but then decides not to get it for fear they will
not only offend their God, but offend their own nature? Lasse Hollstrom's
latest film, Chocolat, knows all about that person.
Juliette Binoche stars as Vianne Rosher, a chocolate shop owner who not only gets people to talk about their forbidden fruits, but also has the ability to make people happily indulge in them. She, along with her daughter, Anouk (Victoire Thivisol), moves into a quiet French village during Lent and opens her chocolate shop. The townspeople look in the window, admire the confections for a moment, then walk on by.
One diabetic woman, Amande (Judi Dench), decides to stay for a little while. Vianne puts a colorful ceramic plate on the table and spins it around. She asks what Amande sees in the image. Amande tells her and Vianne presumes to know exactly what kind of confection Amande would like the best. We could only dream of such customer service this time of year.
Amande's young grandson, Luc, an aspiring artist, also can't seem to stay away from the chocolate store, in spite of the wishes of his churchgoing mother (Carrie-Anne Moss). Actually, the whole town goes to the same church and it doesn't take long before the Mayor (Alfred Molena) has his say against the shop, since many of the chocolates have been carved into the shapes of naked women and have names such as Nipples of Venus. The chocolates also seem to be changing people's behavior. A sexless, joyless married couple all of a sudden can't keep their Butterfingers off each other.
The non-churchgoing Vianne eventually becomes the center of the town's controversy, but she soon has company after the arrival of the river rats, a group of Irish merchants who travel by boat to pawn off whatever they can, much to the dismay of the townspeople. Here, Vianne meets Roux (Johnny Depp), and they become fast friends and, well, you know the rest.
The story of Chocolat could be described in one sentence-Footloose, only instead of dancing, it's chocolates. However, in this film we have some magic realism to deal with. Unfortunately, the film does not quite develop its own `magical' ideas. It gets bogged down by the usual story elements an d sub-plots we often see with this kind of story. We get the battered wife who finds solace in Vianne's shop and we get the burning of a particular place (here, a boat) to further drive home the point that outsiders will not be tolerated. I would have liked a little more `magic.'
On the other hand, we do get some magic in the form of the performances. Juliette Binoche actually smiles and acts charming, as opposed to the sorrowful and pensive roles in which we usually see her. What a relief to finally see her carrying a picture with warmth, confidence and wit, as well as beauty. The guitar-twanging Johnny Depp (reuniting with his Gilbert Grape director), with a ponytail and an Irish accent, compliments her with a rugged look and easygoing charm that makes his fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants character a perfect soulmate for Binoche.
I recommend stopping by the candy counter or sneaking in some Fannie May confections before the movie starts. This film does for chocolate what Big Night did for Italian food. In spite of its flaws, Chocolat makes for a far more rewarding and satisfying film experience than Hollstrom's last feel-gooder, the over-rated Cider House Rules. In the end, something about this film won me over. It could have been the irrisistable theme of great food being as close to Godliness as one could get. It could have been the sights of chocolates being created and turned into glorious, statuesque works of art. It could have been the enjoyable cast, each member dealing with their hidden anguish and repression. Or it could have been all of the above, combined with the captivating and alluring grace of Juliette Binoche.
We all have our vices.
Beautiful movie from master-director Lasse Hallström (The Cider House
Rules, The Shipping News, What's Eating Gilbert Grape) with wonderful
performances by Juliette Binoche, Judi Dench, and Hallström's wife Lena
Olin. "Chocolat" is a very beautiful and touching movie about a single
mother with a daughter who decides to open a "chocolaterie" in a very
conservative village during Lent. What follows almost looks like a
fairytale: the characters, the story, the music, the whole idea of an
old conservative French village
I liked the movie a lot. It has everything: a laugh, a cry, a wonderful story and some amazing acting performances. Juliette Binoche is made to play this kind of caring and sensitive women. Although Johnny Depp had a very small part in this movie, he was excellent as always. I personally think that Judi Dench gave one of her best performances in "Chocolat", truly great acting! Maybe not Hallström's best; I liked "What's Eating Gilbert Grape" and "The Cider House Rules" more; but certainly worth watching.
First I borrowed this movie from videostore And loved it so much that soon I bought the DVD so I could watch it again. That's how much i love it. I truly regret not watching it, while it was in the cinemas, it would have been great to see it on the big screen. This movie has everything: humanity, love, magic (and gorgeous cinematography), comedy, sadness, great acting. There is depth and strength to the characters in the movie. The costumes and special effects are great too. I loved the acting and how all these story lines were woven into a beautiful, delightful fable. This movie has got the heart. The music is beautiful too, it is so enchanting. It is so wonderful and bittersweet, like chocolate for the soul :) I strongly recommend it
This movie starts being a comedy, and finishes with drama and romance
genre. And it's one of the greatest movies I already saw, with such a
good atmosphere and also one of the most appetizing scenes ever.(It's
really hard watching this movie while you are on a diet!) (Juliette
Binoche is terrific as Vianne Rocher and Johnny Depp as Roux is so
Viane Rocher is the owner of a chocolaterie in a small Town of France; She and her daughter Anouk are always traveling to different places to live,following the Maya's tradition, since Viane herself is daughter of a Mayan woman.In the small town, Viane makes new friends, and tries to help the people there with her cacao recipes and her talent to guess the deep desires and the favorite chocolates of everybody who talks to her. Her problems start to complicate when the Comte De Reynaud tries to boycott her store, and a sexy foreigner named Roux come to the small town with his group,making Vianne attracted to him and for the first time not guessing what is his favorite chocolate and what is behind the mysterious guy.
It is misleading to suggest that this movie makes a fool or bad guy out of religion/Christianity. The movie simply portrays one of the many instances by which religion vis-a-vis Christianity can be manipulated by those with personal agendas to attempt to force others into particular lifestyles. The movie might have been a bit trite, but it was well done and entertaining. a much more significant problem than the treatment of Christianity was the treatment of peripheral characters, about whom we learn very little. aside from the woman running the chocolate shop and the town mayor, all of the other dynamic characters remain too flat. I would have loved to have known more about the all of these characters, with a solid cast of actors such as were present here, it really could've been accomplished with just a bit more dialogue, so long as it was done right. nevertheless, the movie was far, far better than a 2.
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