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|Index||493 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
From director Lasse Hallströmof (The Cider House Rules), this is a pretty good film of how a delicious substance can change a town in both good and bad ways. Basically in a French village (which explains the title being French) run by the mayor, Comte Paul De Reynaud (Spider-Man 2's Alfred Molina) a new woman moves to the town. Soon enough, Vianne Rocher (Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe nominated Juliette Binoche) and her daughter Anouk open a chocolate shop. The only concern for some people is that she has opened during rent, but she still insists on letting people try her new recipes and treats. Unfortunately, not everyone approves, especially the mayor who tries to make everyone turn against Vianne. Also starring Memento's Carrie-Anne Moss as Caroline Clairmont, Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe nominated Dame Judi Dench as Armande Voizin, Johnny Depp as Roux and BAFTA nominated Lena Olin as Josephine Muscat. It was nominated the Oscars for Best Music, Original Score for Rachel Portman, Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published and Best Picture, it was nominated the BAFTAs for Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Make Up/Hair, Best Production Design and Best Adapted Screenplay, and it was nominated Golden Globe Best Motion Picture - Comedy/Musical and Best Original Score. Juliette Binoche was number 88, and Johnny Depp number 22 on The 100 Greatest Movie Stars, Dame Judi Dench was number 1 on The 50 Greatest British Actresses, she was number 1 on Britain's Finest Actresses, Depp was number 9 on The 100 Greatest Sex Symbols, and Dench was number 8, and Depp number 2 on The World's Greatest Actor. Very good!
Is the colorful movie in which the charming Juliet Binoche plays a lovely roll as Vianne, a single mother who came out of nowhere with a cute little daughter to set up shop in a 1950ies village in central France. You don't know if this is going to be comical, which you would expect when you see all the devoted silly faces in Sunday church, or if it is a documentary about cocoa since the narrator takes you to South America where Vianne's father apparently got sexually stimulated after drinking hot chocolate. Or did he just got excited by the hot Amazonian girls by the campfire? Anyway, in the end it is just going to be a fairytale with a grouchy grandmother played by Judi Dench, that despite her grade one diabetes indulges herself in chocolate. A village Mayor (Alferd Molina) who is estranged from his wife for over six months and thinks that chocolate is going to give him the desired satisfaction he lacks since. He looks more like a Mr. Cluso when he rolls in to the Chocolatery and gives a boring performance of how not to eat truffles. What is the conspiracy behind here? Tobacco companies cannot buy into the movie scene anymore and now we are looking at Cadbury's or Droste to sell us more than chocolate actually can deliver? In the old days, mankind might have given chocolate some hallucinogenic powers and it does enhances mood in some people and for that matter it took time to get accepted. Similarly today with hemp, all sort of powers and qualities are given to the weed and in 5 or 10 years people will laugh as to how innocent hemp really is and accepted like Chocolat.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
SPOILERS Chocolate has certain chemical advantages. Causing the same
release of chemicals as sexual gratification, the cocoa bean has been
eaten with desirable results for centuries. Joanne Harris' novel about
a woman who revolutionises a French town through chocolate is obviously
aware of this and thankfully the film adaptation keeps this in mind.
Well acted and with a wide range of enigmatic characters, the film is a
feel good story which (just like chocolate itself) leaves you both
happy and desperate for more.
A small French village, led by the Comte De Reynaud (Alfred Molina), is a place of contained misery. A group of people who keep their emotions and feelings bottled up and reject all gratification in favour religious purity, things need to change. So when the mysterious Vianne Rocher (Juliette Binoche) and her daughter Anouk (Victoire Thivisol) turn up and create the ultimate temptation in the form of life altering chocolate, the Comte is less than overjoyed.
There's this strange feeling that one gets as they watch "Chocolat". Certain films induce desires of one extreme or the other. If you watch a romance, you will probably feel the desire for love. If you watch a particularly violent movie, you'll find yourself with a desire to attack someone (this is a desire rather than a necessity of course and not something to be acted upon). So when you watch "Chocolat" you find yourself with this enormous, obvious desire to pig out through a box of fancy chocolates. Not necessarily Cadbury or another ordinary selection, but something fancy.
The chocolate lust induced leads to one conclusion. Irrelevant of whether you love the plot or not, the way the film shows chocolate as a thick beautiful fluid is magnificent. Similar to cooks like Floyd, Rhodes, Smith and others, the film shows you how well the food can be good and by the end you are literally drooling.
At the other end of the scale, if you don't find yourself drooling over the chocolate, you can always drool over Juliette Binoche. Not a personal favourite when it comes to acting, Binoche turns in a suitably brilliant performance here. Showing a woman who feels obligated to move on when the time is right (a novel comparison with the villagers and their own personal sacrifices), Binoche adds a reality to a character who must not have been easy to portray. At the same time though, she also adds a remarkable air of sexuality to an almost mother like role. She might be aided by magnificent performances from a cast including Molina, Dame Judi Dench and Johnny Depp, but it is Binoche who is deservedly named first. She is a majestic lead and the film is better for her presence.
If there is any complaint to be made of "Chocolat" it is that the script begins badly. Adapted from the book by Robert Nelson Jacobs, the general layout of the story flows remarkably well. In the first thirty minutes or so however, the lines don't work particularly well and you find yourself grimacing at times. Jacobs does improve, like the film in general, as the story progresses, but by this time it would not be surprising if some had turned the film off.
Despite the disappointing beginning, "Chocolat" is a film worth watching. Brilliantly acted and often beautiful to watch, it is an entertaining piece which will leave you with a huge grin and a feeling of well being. Like chocolate itself, you can't help but feel that life is better with "Chocolat" around.
Whether or not it deserves it's Best Picture nomination, this is still a damn good movie. You'll laugh, maybe cry if you're that way, but one thing's for sure, you'll feel some emotion. That's what a good movie does to you. The story is very well written- a tale for all ages. B+, 8/10
Juliette Binoche play a woman who moves to town with her young daughter and open a chocolate shop. The shop open with much objection with the town people. Some people got curious about the shop, and she shows them how to love with her special chocolate treats. Binoche, Judi Dench, and Alfred Molina performances are excellent. If you give up chocolate during lent, my advice do not watch at this time. If your will power is strong enough to watch without eating chocolate then it is okay to see.
Wow, what a movie, I really enjoyed this one. Even though I'm not really a lover of the romantic genre, I think this one is great, great, great. In the form of a modern fairy tale with great acting great atmosphere and directed magically by Lasse Halstrom. With 'What's Eating Gilbert Grape he already proved he could make sensitive yet not 'dribbling' movies. This one is even better if you ask me. After about 12 minutes I found myself touched by it with tears in my eyes. Anyone should watch it, can't imagine how anyone could be bored. IMO all the Oscars that went to Erin Brokovitch should have gone to 'Chocolat'. Highly recommended to everyone!!! One of my few 10 out of 10's.
A truly phenomenal movie with an enchanting premise. Everything from the on
location scenes to the sets and the acting was superb. A must see for
everyone who is a free spirit, or wishes they could be...
The DVD has extra features that are absolutely worth watching that completely enhance the experience after viewing the film.
This movie is not a chick flick. This is a movie for everybody. I never thought I would see it myself because guys were supposed to avoid it. If you aren't into movies that are actually worth watching, stay away from this. But, if your in the mood for a drama that has a sweet yet serious side to it, this is for you. I give it a 9 out of 10.
Although it is hard to imagine that Vianne can get an entire chocolate
factory in her suitcase, along with her mother's urn and all her clothes and
everything else, this is what she does. Mary Poppins was nowhere near this
resourceful. She sings few songs, but carries out her quest as a charming
hobo, walking into town and establishing what amounts to a pre-franchise
Vianne alternates between being wise and helpless, and only fleetingly loses her own sense of missionary conviction. It is not effortless for her, because in helping her new friends find redemption, she must find it herself, even as she weaves her spells the witch hunters are never far off. And all of it in this story works. A must see.
Chocolat is for all types because of it's beautifully crafted scenes, script, score and actors. But, the real gem is the healing that takes place in front of the eyes of the audience. So many characters are healed from the restrictions of their upbringings and it's really beautiful to see. Even the most harmful characters to themselves and others are portrayed in a compassionate way. And the victims are shown their real strengths. The chocolate shop symbolizes a place where you don't need to be ashamed of who you really are deep down inside. The place where your true nature is allowed to be free like a bird or a gypsy. Johny Depp's song is a song the soul sings when it rejoices and plays. I loved this movie. On a personal note, the character who had an abusive husband was the most poignant. She shows battered women they can survive, escape, heal, triumph and help others. What a realistic portrayal!! You would think she actually survived something like that in real life!
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