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In 1959, a single mother opens a small chocolate shop in a small town
in France. People enjoy the chocolate, but the shop comes under fire
when it stays open during lent, causing temptation among the
Chocolat has an awesome story that is kept in balance with everything going on in the town it takes place in. The movie doesn't solely focus on the problems the woman (well played by Juliette Binoche) is having with her chocolate shop, but also with the town's mayor, an abusive husband, a woman's relationship with her mother, and a band of gypsies that come passing through. All of these unconnected events are inextricably linked through the chocolate shop that opens in the town. I like how well the movie flows with a nice blend of comedy and drama. Surprisingly, one of the most engaging things in the film is the woman's daughter's relationship with her imaginary friend, an injured kangaroo. My favourite character though is Roux, the gypsy that befriends the woman.
Everyone in the movie does a really good job in their roles. I could watch Johnny Depp sleeping and still enjoy his performance, so I naturally liked him in this movie. I found Alfred Molina pretty funny as the mayor of the town. All in all, this is a really good film worth checking out. If nothing else, it will make you hungry.
Ever since The English patient hit the screens, the charmingly Juliette
Binoche is to be enjoyed thoroughly in whatever film she appears in,
but in Chocolat, where she roams around as a nomadic one child-mother
in her home country France, she gets more out of here performance than
Of course, the purpose of the film is a romantic one, with Johnny Depp easily fulfilling his character as a notable gypsy and romantic interest of Binoche, and Alfred Molina as the classic malefactor in this story of the powers of chocolate. But the well casted Binoche steals the show with her French savoir-faire on the subtleties of yearning and seduction.
Not seduction in a Sharon Stone way, A Kim Basinger or even a Jennifer Lopez way, but one that makes her a true believable girl next door, while still keeping that enigmatic secret, that every nomad seems to have.
While we must not forget the nice performance of the supporting actors (of which Alfred Molina and Judi Dench stand out), it is Binoche that shows how to incorporate a romantic story with a deeper layer, without getting corny or boring, although we all know where it's gonna end.
And that's where romantic films need to score: on a niche in the thematic material, or the characters of the romance, who want to be followed through their hurdles-taking.
Chocolat succeeds handsomely with this, which makes it recommended not only for enamored couples of any age, but of everyone who wants a taste of what gives people their energy in struggling for a place of their own.
I need some churching. "Chocolat" is a cute little town film. All about a
woman who newly arrives into town and makes chocolate. When she turns down
an invitation to church, everyone thinks bad things about her. They even
consider her chocolate to be evil because it tastes so good. She befriends
most of the townspeople. Excluding a few who don't like her at all. She even
befriends the "rats" who sail in once a year. She happens to fall for one of
them. But she is still pressured to leave due to her delicious chocolate.
The film is well done. The story is alright. But the acting takes it all. I would recommend especially for Johnny lovers.
Credit were it's due. The cast work handsomely, although Depp doesn't
really do anything too special with his role. And all hail to the
chameleonic Dench. And Lena Olin is a treasure. And Carrie-Ann Moss proves
what a perceptive actress she actually is. And Molina underplays what could
have been a very grotesque role. And Binoche is as luminous as ever, if
still not as good in English as we've seen her be in her native
Thing is, I hate films like this I had the same problem with American Beauty' last year. While the whole thing is doubtlessly well acted with many lovely moments between the players I could quite put my finger on why I wasn't enjoying it. Until I left the cinema, went down the road to the bookshop and noticed a screenplay on the shelf in the film section. Like Water For Chocolate' and the fog cleared. I'd seen everything done before and better. In fact as well as that film, in Chocolat' we have elements of Tea with Mussolini', Mina Tanenbaum' and The Hairdresser's Husband'. When will Hollywood learn to create its own ideas instead of ripping off lesser known pictures?
It's hard to say anything else! The message of this movie is extremely
straight forward and is made clear in the first few minutes. Nothing
comes along to enrich that message; everything potters along quite
pleasantly to the obvious ending.
I didn't find this dislikeable (apart from the irritating accents - the m'sieurs and madames etc were pretty objectionable, until I kind of mentally blocked them out, but the worst was probably the American kiddies in the Sunday School who had no ability/made no attempt to sound the least bit French) but I didn't find it superb either. There are so many other films that have done this kind of thing better.
The sudden and quite absurd changes in personality that some of the characters underwent didn't seem to me to make sense in the context of the film. If it had been a bit more bizarre in general these unreal plot devices may well have been more believable.
My best recommendation for this film would be, if the mild sex scenes were removed, as a kind of slightly more mature 'Madeline' for kids, or perhaps young teenagers. If you like films that are quite pretty, quite innocuous and potter along in a friendly manner, this one's certainly for you!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I'll confess that I was immediately skeptical when they started talking
English. I was thinking a French film, set in France. Instead, we have a
bunch of non-french actors (except for maybe Binoche and her on-screen
daughter) acting "French" and it just doesn't happen. This is not a French
film, it's nothing like one. Not that I love French films - most of them
are morbidly depressing. OK, beside the fact that it was inauthentic, the
whole thing felt like the product of a focus-group. I didn't find a single
thing in that film that surprised me that left me with a sense of something
I hadn't seen before. It was all predictably played out (and nicely), to
elicit our common emotions.
Possible Spoiler follows =======================>The fact of the all-too-happy ending. The town converts to chocolate lovers, the river-boy comes back, the Priest tells people to enjoy life, Mr. Mayor eventually will ask what's-her-face out for dinner, Pontouf goes away and the Anouk doesn't miss him.
I didn't hate this flick - it was pleasant enough - but I would have rather not bothered to see it.
I knew nothing of this movie before seeing it on an international flight the other day. I cannot say I am surprised at the anti-Catholic bias of secularist's with an agenda. This movie thwarts more than religion, it, as so many opinion pieces do nowadays, wants to show traditional life, morays, customs and attitudes as being provincial, narrow-minded and detrimental to the human condition and spirit. This movie goes on to place in high honor the iconoclast's role in reshaping and "rectifying" centuries of "injustice" and "intolerance". It does this by making all the failings of the "outsider" - the iconoclast, virtuous qualities. The crude old lady (Judy Dench) who admits her daughter won't have anything to do with her because she drinks and swears and doesn't care what others think, or the main character (Juliette Binoche) who blows into town and promptly turns her nose up at local custom and then acts surprised when some modicum of resistance presents itself to her style, both refuse to recognize other people's sensibilities. This assault is later furthered by Johnny Depp's character, the "noble vagabond", who, in his open-mindedness, simply asks Juliette Binoche why she cares what the "narrow-minded" villagers think. This brings me to what is what is most grating and at the same time predictable, the intransigence of all these "noble spirits" who muddle through, putting aside any effort to assimilate or acculturate and hold on to their own biases in the name of what they so selfishly perceive as open-mindedness. The movie promotes the nobility of breaking social morays and not being satisfied until people accept it. The story demands everyone find the newcomer or the outsider's way acceptable and further embrace it. And it also wants to show the "sole" defender of tradition as being an intolerant hypocrite who can manipulate a young priest by demanding he edit his sermons. So while this movie is decidedly anti-Catholic it is also patently anti-tradition and while the Church's values and customs are always ripe for fodder in Hollywood, I get the feeling the producers would be just as happy to ask me to accept and enjoy any other form of social deviance "for my own good" - like being served food by a kid with metal through her lips, nose and eyebrows while saying to myself: "Good for her! She's a real individual!" And while I have no use for the story or the fact you hear nary a French accent or a sing-songy "bonjour" as you would at the beginning of every real human interaction in France, as someone who has been through scores of French villages over the years, I can say at least the scenery is believable. I did read one review by a French native who said in the time period this movie is supposed to represent, virtually all the villages were administered by communists, and I can say that the story writer's seeming grudge against "rural Catholic France" is deeply unfounded and maybe more a sign of some paranoia. In reality you find churches in every village, most capable of holding hundreds for Mass, being populated by only a few dozen people on Sunday. All art including the art of writing fiction has to connect or reflect reality at some point to be meaningful to the astute person, and this movie does not, thereby rendering it irrelevant at best.
Good commercial for chocolate though did chocolate ever need any kind of commercial? It looks like a Sunday NY Times spread: chic clothes & makeup, but some of the worst acting I've ever seen on film. Plus hey, they think it's funny to show a dog lopping up chocolate kisses off the floor, but try that on your dog if you want to put him or her down.. Not funny to me. Lots of coyness, though.
If like me, you feel like walking out after the first 15 minutes, then go
ahead, the movie has not get much better.
This would be one of worst five movies I have seen. If you have seen the shorts for the movie then there is nothing else to see. The movie is totally predictable and very unimaginative.
Notice she never eats the chocolate herself.
It did manage to give me one small laugh but I would have rather stayed at home and washed the dishes.
Avoid at all costs.
Chocolat is terrible, one of the worst films I have seen in a long time. Here we have a great cast with nothing to do Juliette Binoche basically sits around and looks pretty for two hours. Alfred Molina is on overdrive and horribly one note. Lena Olin - well she doesn't really do anything. Carrie-Ann Moss looks pretty, but doesn't do much else. Peter Stormare is the big lout he always is. Judi Dench - well you can't really complain about her performance because it the SAME DAMN performance she always gives. Even Johnny Depp looks bad. The film is rubish. All the characters are cookie cutter version of characters in much better films. The story, so to speak, is predictable, trite and cliched. If this were directed by an American, critics would rip it apart, but since its directed by a European, with a foreign setting and an international cast, why it must be one of those charming European films about a quaint little town. It was all I could do not to throw up in the theater as I was watching.
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