Forget, if you will, that it was nominated for Best Picture. Forget that this movie was shoved down our throats by Harvey Weinstein. Forget all that, watch it without the hype, and it's really rather harmless. Cute in a Full Monty-type way, and utterly watchable. Nothing more, nothing less."Chocolat" is just like every other small, Britishy movie. It's got a cast of cute and eccentric characters, it's got a nasty fellow who isn't really that nasty, and it's designed to make old people chuckle. My parents LOVED this movie. LOVED it. Because it's perfect for them. And for all old people, because it's about non-confirmity, told in a perfectly conformist way. And because it's about old people having sex, which makes old people happy, because it makes them remember that they, too, have genitalia. Happy endings all around, and everyone hugs and goes home to watch "Diagnosis: Murder".
"Like real chocolate, in that it will kill a diabetic person."
La Plotte (in keeping with the french title): Juliette Binoche is a free-thinking lady who comes into town and serves repressed Catholics chocolate, which causes them to have more fun, lots more sex, and causes them to reject God and partake in pagan rituals, such as Easter and the sacrificing of squirrels. The mayor is displeased. There is a vicious struggle for power, and eventually the government is overthrown by the Zapatistas. Or something.
There is also some Irish gypsies, played by Johnny Depp. Everyone hates the Irish, except for Juliette. Johnny sounds like Bono.
Judi Dench and Trinity from "The Matrix" also figure in somehow. Luckily, Judi Dench does not get involved in the horniness. As I said to my friend while we watched, "If Judi Dench gets horny, I'm leaving. And fast." But thankfully she played the craggy yet loveable old person with a secret. Her genitalia was removed in the first great war.
You know what is going to happen, and it happens, and the old people laugh, and there is merriment all around. And the movie gets some good laughs at the expense of a wife beater (Peter Stormare). Oh, those wife beaters. So much merriment. There is also a horny dog, a horny old man, and a kid with a death fetish.
This movie is the dictionary definition of "harmless entertainment". Watch it and you laugh and then go home.
Everyone in the movie is sweet. The direction is cute, and the locations are pretty. Just plain nice.Lasse Halstrom, the director, made "What's Eating Gilbert Grape", "The Cider House Rules", and other cute things. He's the Hallmark Inc. of movies.
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=4716&reviewer=27
originally posted: 04/03/01 09:37:58