Well, what can one say about this film? You could just agree to all the bad critics that have been written about it that "Better than chocolate" is nothing more but a cliché and an unrealistic fairy tale. Fairy tale's the word: What is cinema supposed to be if not a fairy tale? It's unrealistic; it helps us forgetting our daily troubles and allows us to dream and to bathe in romantic feelings. And these are exactly the reasons I recommend "Better than chocolate" and think that it's a splendid movie, a hilarious comedy and a love story so sweet you just get enchanted by it.
It's a classic: The sweet princess, Meggie, just quit university and preferred becoming part of Vancouver's gay scene, performing in a gay bar (and she's so great in it!) and working in a lesbian book store. Things seem to go pretty fine until the day when Maggie's Mum Lila calls and informs our princess that she just left her current husband and wants to move in with Maggie, bringing Maggie's teen brother Paul with her. The problem is: Mum doesn't know (or doesn't want to know) that her little daughter is gay. Things get even more problematic when one night, after her performing at the club, Maggie meets her knight, who does not wear an armour or ride a white horse, but who is an attractive, tough and cool girl named Kim, rides a funky van and lives on the road, earning her money with drawing portraits. When all the characters mentioned above finally find themselves living under the same roof some days later, things become chaotic and almost grotesque cause it's so obvious that Kim and Meggie are a couple but Lila is simply blind for it.
Mind you, the movie also deals with other interesting characters. We get to know Frances, the neurotic owner of the book shop Maggie works in. There is also Judy, who once was Jeremy, but now is a woman and hopelessly in love with Frances. And don't forget Carla, whose favourite pass of time is sex, who seduces almost every person crossing her way, is an expert in the newest *toys* and digs on Maggie as well as her brother Paul.
Of course it's one or two clichés, I mentioned it before. But if you see how lightly and heart-warmingly the story is told, if you hear the hilarious jokes and one-liners, follow the soft filming of the camera you just can't help forgetting about those clichés and falling in love with this movie. For in the middle of this colourful chaos the love story between Kim and Maggie is the calm and comforting pole, it's told in silent pictures and gentle sounds (which become a bit louder when it comes to
well, the making love part). And this beautiful love story has highlights of its own, and I don't want to reveal even one of them. I can only say that much: A lot of colour and
goddesses ;) (everyone who's seen the movie of course knows what I'm talking about) There is also something else I love about this film: Although it's a fairy tale and most parts of it are simply utopic, "Better than chocolate" can be inspiring and show possibilities: The possibility of an alternative life style and that you can be comfortable with it, no matter what others might think, the possibility to break out of certain expectations society burdens us with and the possibility to love differently. For example when Maggie quits her finance studies to live her dream of being an author. So, besides allowing us to dream, this film also gives incredible hope and this might be its greatest strength.
A word on the cast which is simply brilliant. And before concentrating on one of the protagonists, who in my opinion stood out, I'd like to compliment the others. There is this young actor playing Paul, who up to "Better than chocolate" has had no acting experience but is very good at what he's doing. There is the sex-ridden but likable Carla. The neurotic Frances Canada's currently probably most famous lesbian actress and author Ann-Marie MacDonald (and according to director Anne Wheeler the only openly gay actress participating in this movie). The icing on the cake in this film are two profound Canadian actors Wendy Crewson as Lila and Peter Outerbridge as Judy. Wendy (who is probably most familiar as Harrison Ford's wife in "Air Force One") is just outstanding as the confused, sweet and clueless Mum with a weakness for chocolate. Peter Outerbridge is just incredible as Judy and you really have a hard time to believe that this is his first transsexual performance he's so great in this role and just a beautiful woman. And now let me point out the person who impressed me most with her performance: Christina Cox as Kim. She's hot, she's sexy, she's tough and cool but at the same time so soft and feminine. I think only few actresses can add so many different facets to their role. I mean, she could have easily played a simple butch, but she adds such charisma and dignity to her character it's just amazing. There, enough said, she's just great.
The movie's soundtrack is a highlight of its own Sarah McLachlan with "Ice Cream" for example and perfectly mirrors the film's young spirit, it's modern, it's sexy, it's dreamy and it rocks. And with this I'd like to give "Better than chocolate" three thumbs up a summer movie with heart, soul, humour and a lot of love.
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