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Overall Rating
3.66

Awesome: 28.16%
Worth A Look35.06%
Average: 22.41%
Pretty Bad: 3.45%
Total Crap: 10.92%

10 reviews, 114 user ratings


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Chocolat
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by Greg Muskewitz

"A sappy, sweet confection."
3 stars

Outside of my negative predisposition towards director Lasse Hallström, that doesn't mean that I cannot set it aside to enjoy a movie, as I did with The Cider House Rules, but again, the fulsome reaction and over-praise is evident and frustrating to hear it coming for something so elementary and then have other good movies like Dancer in the Dark, Deterrence, or Down to You (just to mention of few of the ds) that were miskened in the instability of critical voices.

Chocolat is a simplistic story of an outsider and her daughter (Juliette Binoche, Victoire Thivisol) who immigrate into a deeply religious town and open up a chocolate store during their Lenten. The self-appointed town mediator (Alfred Molina) takes it upon himself to investigate, and if there are no problems, to make one. When the nomadic gypsies sail in and Binoche befriends him, Molina uses it as more fuel to burn the fire.

The story is almost too simplistic, bulging to the edges with sappy goo, but somewhere in the middle there is enough sugar to mold it into a sweet confection. Metaphors aside, Chocolat doesn't do enough one way or another to make you care. I'm pretty much indifferent to it, but it makes more sense to give it a minimal recommendation for something so harmless, than bash it. There is little reason to love it or hate it. With all the positive critical reaction that Hallström gets from his movies, it is filling that ego of his mighty high. He already thinks anything he touches turns into something great, and that isn't the case. I think it was pretty apparent with The Cider House Rules that Miramax purchased those Oscar nominations, because the movie was not that good, and with the major dominance of Miramax over the past few years, there was a giant slot open. If Disney was smart (as preposterous an idea as it is), they should have been pushing The Straight Story, and it could have rightfully grabbed attention. But where Cider was an elementary lesson in abortion and pro-choice rights, this is just a further expansion of that with an addition anti-racism message. Not that the message is bad, but Hallström goes at it like a haughty professor trying to talk with a six-year-old; his manner is completely condescending and tries to disguise it in the sap of everything else.

Nearing the end of Chocolat, the story stops flowing so sweetly and it leaves a weak, bad aftertaste in your mouth. Binoche is looking old, especially considering that The Unbearable Lightness of Being was not that long ago. She fares decently, and another Unbearable alumna, Lena Olin, looks much better than Binoche, but doesn't act as well. The most obvious miscasting is of Molina, a character actor, and one who is not usually that good either, who cannot believably play this character for an ounce. He swims in the role, and floats upside-down like a corpse. The cinematography by Roger Pratt lags while its subject are people, and artificially intercuts crisp exterior shots to try and spruce it up. With Johnny Depp and Judi Dench.

Final Verdict: B-.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=4716&reviewer=172
originally posted: 01/22/01 15:37:09
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User Comments

7/19/15 Göran Dath A chocolate commercial movie 2 stars
12/30/14 Lina A thoroughly charming film. Very engaging cast. 4 stars
11/02/10 Martin Waddington A Gallic rural idyll, tempting us to buy into French real estate 4 stars
2/03/10 Tony Crane Too much of the typical sterotypes of religious people totally against any form of pleasure 2 stars
8/02/09 Samantha Pruitt Johnny Depp is totally hot! a really sweet movie! 4 stars
1/09/09 Shaun Wallner Wonderful story. 4 stars
1/01/09 mish cute - if only life's problems could really be solved by opening a chocolaterie. 4 stars
9/16/08 Sarah I watch this every Easter. It is a delighful film about tolerance and chocolate. Yum! 4 stars
9/07/08 Pamela White wonderful how one person can change many 5 stars
11/26/06 David Pollastrini a bit slow in places but still good 3 stars
8/18/06 Kat Sweet story, really enjoyable to watch, wonderful acting, a believeable fairytale.Love it!! 5 stars
11/01/05 missjie86 I love this film. 5 stars
10/24/04 john bale A visually pleasing modern fable with great cast and feeling for the era 4 stars
10/17/04 Jasmine_xoxo I watch this over and over. LOVE this one. 5 stars
6/25/04 Ray Good 4 stars
3/10/04 Ash Roux can melt my chocolat any day! 5 stars
3/05/04 Monster W. Kung Crap 1 stars
12/28/03 Caitlin A great romance with beautiful Johnny Depp 4 stars
8/19/03 feray yapucu ýt's perfect!!!!!!! 5 stars
8/18/03 R.W. Welch Lightweight fable done by solid cast...Molina nails his role. 4 stars
5/04/03 sleepy depp was delicious! 5 stars
4/08/03 Mystique sweet 4 stars
1/23/03 Pinkline Jones A Big Chocolat-Coated Kebab - Bowel-Filling 1 stars
11/16/02 Big Ted Fun, Sassy, and Touching. 4 stars
10/01/02 hum charming 4 stars
7/22/02 2.718281828459045... Better than all the films that robbed it of Oscars. And take French 101, Flick Chick! 4 stars
7/17/02 ___ ___ 1 stars
4/19/02 Monster W. Kung Ridiculously manipulative, and the characters are all cardboard cutouts. 2 stars
4/02/02 El Talboto A chick flick, but I liked the story 4 stars
2/20/02 Xaver Cute. Boring. 3 stars
1/14/02 Flick Chick is dropping the e on chocolate supposed to make it more special? 3 stars
10/22/01 muddy I love it! 5 stars
10/09/01 Monday Morning And on the sixth day, when He was really tired, God made chick flicks. 3 stars
9/25/01 Embre LOVED IT! 5 stars
9/06/01 Goldhammer The message: self-restraint, to any degree, is unacceptable. This movie is plain evil. 1 stars
8/31/01 spaceworm HEADLINE: Depp makes first wrong move. 1 stars
8/29/01 Gary Smug, pretentious and interminable. Everything apart for Olin was false and sugarcoated. 1 stars
8/23/01 brentley it was ok, but didn't live up to all the hype. 4 stars
7/02/01 dan Juliette Binoche.....You can give me Chocolat anytime......I need it 5 stars
4/18/01 sara fantastic 5 stars
4/13/01 Jake What a joy this film was to watch. 5 stars
4/07/01 Poopie Garrison I loved the movie! and Johnny Depp! 5 stars
4/06/01 Mona Symbolic, colorful, easygoing, catchy, dreamy, good acting, clean humor! 4 stars
4/03/01 R-Dub Bloody good film, if you ask me... but you don't. Ah well. 4 stars
3/30/01 Vivienne X This reviewer SUCKS! Dancer took it in the ASS. Loved Chocolat. 5 stars
3/29/01 desdemona a must see movie,not ur average film where there is swearing every 2sec & shooting every 10 5 stars
3/28/01 Arielle Original, Amusing, and Uplifting 5 stars
3/28/01 wabishi Not perfect: literally preachy at the end. But a fine romantic romp. 4 stars
3/28/01 Matthew Bartley Haha Miramax fuck off you won nothing! 2 stars
3/27/01 Omer Enginertan I have never seen something more beautiful. 5 stars
3/27/01 Rumpelerna Incredible - I loved it - A MUST see !!! 5 stars
3/26/01 Dork Dangler Christian = Evil & Ignorant. Pagan=Good & Enlightened. Typical PC Crap 1 stars
3/26/01 michael jordan it sucks the sweat of the dead man's sweaty ball sack 1 stars
3/26/01 Des Delightful - simple on the surface but a lot going on 5 stars
3/25/01 B Gaul Above average film 4 stars
3/25/01 jypsygrrl Luscious Mmmmmovie..... 4 stars
3/25/01 Elaina Lene INCREDIBLY DELIGHTLFUL, MOVING and FUNNY ALL ROLED IN ONE! LOVED IT 5 stars
3/25/01 John J One of the best I've watched so far. Tackles self-righteousness and acceptance. 5 stars
3/24/01 shelley Legalism and Judgmentalism vs. Acceptance and Tolerance - What a Great Idea!!!!! 5 stars
3/23/01 Dieto Rothfuss Refreshing, pleasant, not the usual Hollywood crap 5 stars
3/23/01 matthew smith an indulging experience 5 stars
3/23/01 Sandra Mann Loved it. 5 stars
3/23/01 judy Wonderful movie!!! 5 stars
3/23/01 cristina one of the best ones, johnny's ever played!! 5 stars
3/22/01 Stephanie M Explains the reason why I left church - tired of being measured by what evils I avoided. 5 stars
3/20/01 Jonathan Loved it. 5 stars
3/20/01 Elena VERY GOOD! FANTASTIC!!!!!!!! 5 stars
3/20/01 vpitman "Pretty movie" Good actors/characters, mediocre story. Like "A Walk In the Clouds" 4 stars
3/19/01 J.Arcane Warming fairytale vibe - pretty good stuff 4 stars
3/18/01 Sylvia What a wonderful story with fabulous acting and intense character interaction. 5 stars
3/15/01 rachel loved the small french town..it was one of the best movies i've seen in a long time! 5 stars
3/14/01 Colby Droscher No one seems to be understanding that it was a comedy peice. 5 stars
3/13/01 Siannan This is a must see!! 5 stars
3/12/01 E.Carter Good movie--nothing offensive 4 stars
3/12/01 M. Adrienne Profound in a light-hearted style. great! 5 stars
3/12/01 Gray Olin and Binoche are great. Nothing else is. 2 stars
3/11/01 Caitlin I thought it was cute, original, and it made chocolate seem magical. 5 stars
3/09/01 YelloMiata@AOL.COM It really, really tried to make my wife cry. At least it made us laugh a bit. 3 stars
3/08/01 Michael Fazio No Good 1 stars
3/05/01 Holly fabulous 5 stars
3/04/01 Ina Whitmore wondeful story with strong moral overtone 5 stars
3/04/01 Suzz good but not great 4 stars
3/02/01 ObiWan This is an extremely passionate film -- superbly acted and directed 5 stars
3/01/01 C.R. LILLY CRLILLY@THEFREESITE.COM 4 stars
2/28/01 Ticiana Maria Ramos de Castro Excellent ! Creative and delicious ! 4 stars
2/28/01 Liddy Ross The best film in many, many years!! 5 stars
2/26/01 Mijung Park enthusiastic favor! attractive Bien! 4 stars
2/26/01 Onyx Loved it. A beautiful film and Juliette Binoche is radiant. 5 stars
2/25/01 Chris No tone. A stealth backlash movie. Pretty coating+Vile interior=bad chocolate 1 stars
2/24/01 Tara Johnny Depp does an AMAZING job!! 5 stars
2/23/01 viking Not bad, but Babette's feast was a hundred times better 4 stars
2/23/01 Elizabeth Visser Needed more depth and more Depp 5 stars
2/23/01 eugene Carrie-Anne Moss is hot as always. Otherwise, film is a bomb. 4 stars
2/19/01 Richard B Delightful, light and sweet 4 stars
2/18/01 Robert too saccharine and predictable and absurd at time 3 stars
2/17/01 Bitcholat Johnny Depp & Alfred Molina were the highlights. But the smiling statue was fucking stupid 3 stars
2/17/01 Michael Nicholls Ohhhh...Chocalat isn't tasty, prolongs the agony of abesity! 1 stars
2/15/01 KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi One of the better romantic films out there. Not as cliche as some would have you think. 5 stars
2/13/01 Judith Horn a awespme movie, which I would see again and recommend 5 stars
2/12/01 Duckworth Catholic-bashing from people who've never been in a church 1 stars
2/11/01 Leather jacket Life is not exactly a box of chocolates 2 stars
2/09/01 billy bob brubake this film sucks 1 stars
2/08/01 Johnny Figaro Stale, utterly unsurprising plot made of tired devices. Good cast makes it bearable. 3 stars
1/24/01 Jane Parker visually satisfying 4 stars
1/20/01 Ground Zero 2 words Johnny Depp 4 stars
1/17/01 Kirsten Sweet story. Johnny Depp is delish!! 5 stars
1/09/01 pipeman A delightful move. I absolutely loved it. Watch for a stunninly beautiful Leslie Caron. 5 stars
1/09/01 denise a sweet movie, rich with romance, strength and discovery 4 stars
1/08/01 Robert Nice relaxing 2 hours at a theater. Make sure you bring some chocolate to munch on. 4 stars
1/08/01 Thor-Leo Nice antidote to all the other overambitious, overrated movies now out 4 stars
12/30/00 tnt cute movie.......good performances...not the depth I had expected 3 stars
12/29/00 Jenny-My-Fur mm mm, break me off a piece of johnny, excellant movie, very fun and touching! 4 stars
12/28/00 Cindy W I was completely mesmerized by this movie, although it was a little too long. 5 stars
12/20/00 Heather Delicious fable of a movie, Like Water for Chocolate meets Antonias Line 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  19-Jan-2001 (PG-13)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  14-Feb-2001 (M)




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