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Merci pour le Chocolat (2000)

Merci pour le chocolat (original title)
Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Mystery | 25 October 2000 (France)
In Lausanne, the aspirant pianist Jeanne Pollet has lunch with her mother Louise Pollet, her boyfriend Axel and his mother. Lenna leans that when she was born, a nurse had mistakenly told ... See full summary »

Director:

Claude Chabrol
4 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Isabelle Huppert ... Marie-Claire 'Mika' Muller
Jacques Dutronc ... André Polonski
Anna Mouglalis ... Jeanne Pollet
Rodolphe Pauly Rodolphe Pauly ... Guillaume Polonski
Brigitte Catillon Brigitte Catillon ... Louise Pollet
Michel Robin ... Dufreigne
Mathieu Simonet ... Axel
Lydia Andrei Lydia Andrei ... Lisbeth
Véronique Alain Véronique Alain ... Madame le Maire
Isolde Barth ... Pauline
Jacqueline Burnand Jacqueline Burnand
François Germond François Germond
Antoinette Martin Antoinette Martin
Michel Moulin Michel Moulin
Dorotea Brandin
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Storyline

In Lausanne, the aspirant pianist Jeanne Pollet has lunch with her mother Louise Pollet, her boyfriend Axel and his mother. Lenna leans that when she was born, a nurse had mistakenly told to the prominent pianist André Polonski that she would be his daughter. André has just remarried his first wife, the heiress of a Swiss chocolate factory Marie-Claire "Mika" Muller and they live in Lausanne with André's son Guillaume Polonski. Out of the blue, Jeanne visits André and he offers to give piano classes to help her in her examination. Jeanne becomes closer to André and sooner she discovers that Mika might be drugging her stepson with Rohypnol. Further, she might have killed his second wife Lisbeth. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

France | Switzerland

Language:

French

Release Date:

25 October 2000 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Merci pour le Chocolat See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$14,868, 4 August 2002

Gross USA:

$443,238

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$7,972,251
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In an interview, director Claude Chabrol stated that he was applying techniques which Alfred Hitchcock used even without realizing it. See more »

Goofs

(at around 40 mins) When Mika is talking to Dr. Pollet in the hospital, two crew members feet and a cable (possibly the boom mic's cable) are visible moving - reflected on the side of table. This shot lasts for approx 50 seconds like this. See more »

Connections

References Night at the Crossroads (1932) See more »

Soundtracks

Funérailles
de Franz Liszt
Par Claudio Arrau
Copyright Philips Classics
Avec l'aimable autorisation de Universal Music Projets Spéciaux
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A true Chabrol thriller drama - masterful encore
4 November 2002 | by ruby_fffSee all my reviews

It's a thriller, suspenseful, yet not pushy in its pace. The plot progression edges on at its own natural tempo, with piano recitals punctuating the interludes while, yes, we worry about Mika Muller (Huppert's character) - whatever might she be up to in spite of her ever so charming and outwardly friendly disposition, or is she?

In a way, it's a (light) psychological murder drama, and we kinda know the seed of evil is with Huppert's character. The trailer and the advertising synopsis suggested that obvious clue. But somehow, it didn't decrease the level of suspense. Huppert again exercises her art of subtle acting - that nonchalant facial expression that hardly flinches or betrays her suppressed inner conflicting feelings behind the mask of well-groomed outfits and demeanor.

For the most part, we follow the interaction between the other characters (good supporting cast): Mika's husband André Polonski (Jacques Dutronc) the famous pianist, the sluggish step-son Guillaume (Rodolphe Pauly) whom Polonski wants to cherish but has not the time to understand the growing teenager - whose mother, Polonski's beloved wife Lisbeth, died in a car accident years ago, and Jeanne Pollet (Anna Mouglalis) the newly introduced excitement in Polonski's life - a protégée eager to win a piano competition, and Jeanne's widowed mother Dr. Pollet (Brigitte Catillon) who heads the crime lab. Jeanne is an intelligent young woman besides being a talented pianist with potential, and we led to believe her suspicion about Mika and her serving of hot chocolate nightcaps to the Polonski's.

Chabrol's writing and directing style never thrust obvious murderous threads in front of us. There are no actual blood or acts of violence we see. Everything seems so civil. Clues are suggestive through conversational exchange between the characters and outside of the frames. That's the masterful beauty of a Claude Chabrol piece - exquisitely presented and delightful to enjoy at ease.

The notion of serving up possibly 'poisoned' hot chocolate does remind one of Hitchcock's 1941 "Suspicion" with Cary Grant and Joan Fontaine, including a similar driving scene yet outcome reveals off camera cleverly through a conversation.

Lately, Huppert's taken on roles that are, perhaps, psychologically in need of TLC (tender loving care): here in "Merci pour le chocolat", in Haneke's "The Piano Teacher", and in Ozon's who dunnit musical "8 Women" - she actually gets to have the most changes of outfit (3) than the other 7 actresses, besides performing her number in 'talk through' style sitting down at the piano vs. dancing around singing the song. She's having fun in portraying such characters, no doubt.

If you enjoy foreign movies, a French thriller drama with subtitles by Ian Burley (who did the wonderful translated subtitles to the Italian film "Bread and Tulips"), "Merci pour le chocolat" is for you. Enjoy!


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