Chocolat Movie Review (2000)

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saw Chocolat once more last night. I had forgotten how lovely a movie it is! People need stories like this these days. Some other spectators have complained about the predictability of the plot. I don’t think it’s any more unsurprising than an average Hollywood film; I find most action films much more banal and shallow.
The most stunning thing about the movie (as about Hallström movies generally) is the wise, warm-hearted story about things that matter: love, genuineness, tolerance, standing up for the things you believe are righteous and good, and enjoying the easy pleasures in life, like a good dinner with friends, or like chocolate. And Hallström tells his stories so carefully, in his very own style, with fine nuances and a twinkle of wit in his eye. Binoche, Dench, Depp, Molina, Thivisol etc. are fantastic.
Chocolat is a magnificent movie. It deals with real issues that people face. The characters are credible because they have flaws. They’ve got inward struggles which makes this film even better. It’s a story of the human state and how even deep prejudices can be overcome by the simple act of kindness and the readiness to strive for individuality. I have to admit the only reason I wanted to watch this film at first was because of Johnny Depp. I have to say I loved his performance as Roux. I wished the writers would’ve done extra with his character but what we did get to feast on was unbelievable. Juliette Binoche was also incredible as Vianne and the chemistry between all the actors was grand.
Chocolat has opened to varied reviews. Some critics find it to be overly simple, but I think that it is the movie’s straightforwardness that drives it to become so charmingly enthralling. Granted at times it does become at bit daft, but it all ends to a good warm effect. Apparently the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences share my views as the movie was nominated for five academy awards, Best Picture, Best Actress (Binoche), Best Supporting Actress (Judi Dench), Best Screenplay, and Best Unique Score.
I advise stopping by the candy counter or sneaking in some Fannie May confections before the film starts. This movie does for chocolate what Big Night did for Italian food. In spite of its flaws, Chocolat makes for a far more worthwhile and satisfying film experience than Hollstrom’s last feel-gooder, the over-rated Cider House Rules. In the end, something about this movie won me over. It could have been the appealing 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 wonderful, statuesque works of art. It could have been the pleasant cast, each member dealing with their hidden anguish and oppression. Or it could have been all of the above, combined with the captivating and attractive grace of Juliette Binoche.

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