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Overall Rating
3.68

Awesome: 28.9%
Worth A Look34.68%
Average: 22.54%
Pretty Bad: 2.89%
Total Crap: 10.98%

10 reviews, 113 user ratings


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Chocolat
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by Collin Souter

"Cast of Chocolat Satisfies Sweet Tooth"
4 stars

We all have our vices. Vices make us complete human beings. We can surpress them and deny them, but we can’t quite run away from them. Does it not strike you as a little humorous when someone looks at a menu, knows exactly what they want, but then decides not to get it for fear they will not only offend their God, but offend their own nature? Lasse Hollstrom’s latest film, Chocolat, knows all about that person.

Juliette Binoche stars as Vianne Rosher, a chocolate shop owner who not only gets people to talk about their forbidden fruits, but also has the ability to make people happily indulge in them. She, along with her daughter, Anouk (Victoire Thivisol), moves into a quiet French village during Lent and opens her chocolate shop. The townspeople look in the window, admire the confections for a moment, then walk on by.

One diabetic woman, Amande (Judi Dench), decides to stay for a little while. Vianne puts a colorful ceramic plate on the table and spins it around. She asks what Amande sees in the image. Amande tells her and Vianne presumes to know exactly what kind of confection Amande would like the best. We could only dream of such customer service this time of year.

Amande’s young grandson, Luc, an aspiring artist, also can’t seem to stay away from the chocolate store, in spite of the wishes of his churchgoing mother (Carrie-Anne Moss). Actually, the whole town goes to the same church and it doesn’t take long before the Mayor (Alfred Molena) has his say against the shop, since many of the chocolates have been carved into the shapes of naked women and have names such as Nipples of Venus. The chocolates also seem to be changing people’s behavior. A sexless, joyless married couple all of a sudden can’t keep their Butterfingers off each other.

The non-churchgoing Vianne eventually becomes the center of the town’s controversy, but she soon has company after the arrival of the river rats, a group of Irish merchants who travel by boat to pawn off whatever they can, much to the dismay of the townspeople. Here, Vianne meets Roux (Johnny Depp), and they become fast friends and, well, you know the rest.

The story of Chocolat could be described in one sentence—Footloose, only instead of dancing, it’s chocolates. However, in this film we have some magic realism to deal with. Unfortunately, the film does not quite develop its own “magical” ideas. It gets bogged down by the usual story elements and sub-plots we often see with this kind of story. We get the battered wife who finds solace in Vianne’s shop and we get the burning of a particular place (here, a boat) to further drive home the point that outsiders will not be tolerated. I would have liked a little more “magic.”

On the other hand, we do get some magic in the form of the performances. Juliette Binoche actually smiles and acts charming, as opposed to the sorrowful and pensive roles in which we usually see her. What a relief to finally see her carrying a picture with warmth, confidence and wit, as well as beauty. The guitar-twanging Johnny Depp (reuniting with his Gilbert Grape director), with a ponytail and an Irish accent, compliments her with a rugged look and easygoing charm that makes his fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants character a perfect soulmate for Binoche.

I recommend stopping by the candy counter or sneaking in some Fannie May confections before the movie starts. This film does for chocolate what Big Night did for Italian food. In spite of its flaws, Chocolat makes for a far more rewarding and satisfying film experience than Hollstrom’s last feel-gooder, the over-rated Cider House Rules. In the end, something about this film won me over. It could have been the irrisistable 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 glorious, statuesque works of art. It could have been the enjoyable cast, each member dealing with their hidden anguish and repression. Or it could have been all of the above, combined with the captivating and alluring grace of Juliette Binoche. We all have our vices.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=4716&reviewer=233
originally posted: 12/20/00 11:52:59
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User Comments

2/04/14 rdkwpntnq USA 5 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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