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Chocolat (Miramax Collector's Series)
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Product Description

A wanderer and her daughter open a chocolate shop in a straight-laced French Catholic village during Lent.
Genre: Feature Film-Drama
Rating: PG13
Release Date: 21-MAY-2002
Media Type: DVD

With movies like Chocolat, it's always best to relax your intellectual faculties and absorb the abundant sensual pleasures, be it the heart-stopping smile of chocolatier Juliette Binoche as she greets a new customer, an intoxicating cup of spiced hot cocoa, or the soothing guitar of an Irish gypsy played by Johnny Depp. Adapted by Robert Nelson Jacobs from Joanne Harris's popular novel and lovingly directed by Lasse Hallstr?m, the film covers familiar territory and deals in broad metaphors that even a child could comprehend, so it's no surprise that some critics panned it with killjoy fervor. Their objections miss the point. Familiarity can be comforting and so can easy metaphors when placed in a fable that's as warmly inviting as this one.

Driven by fate, Vianne (Binoche) drifts into a tranquil French village with her daughter Anouk (Victoire Thivisol, from Ponette) in the winter of 1959. Her newly opened chocolatier is a source of attraction and fear, since Vianne's ability to revive the villagers' passions threatens to disrupt their repressive traditions. The pious mayor (Alfred Molina) sees Vianne as the enemy, and his war against her peaks with the arrival of "river rats" led by Roux (Depp), whose attraction to Vianne is immediate and reciprocal. Splendid subplots involve a battered wife (Lena Olin), a village elder (Judi Dench), and her estranged daughter (Carrie-Anne Moss), and while the film's broader strokes may be regrettable (if not for Molina's rich performance, the mayor would be a caricature), its subtleties are often sublime. Chocolat reminds you of life's simple pleasures and invites you to enjoy them. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews:

  • Movie Review

    This is a great movie to see! We had several people over to enjoy this movie. If your not in a good mood this movie will put you in one. Thank you Amazon for making a great night for everyone!...more info
  • chocolate as the new eucharist
    I viewed this film as a sort of modern day parable of the Good Samaritan: the most unlikely and even pagan person, Vianne, opens a chocolate shop during Lent (!) on the square of an uptight, moralistically Catholic town in 1950s France. But she brings the town together after the Christians had split them apart....more info
  • Great movie & addition to library
    I first saw the movie on the tube and knew I had to have it. Excellent story with good values expressed. ...more info
  • French interpretation of the issues of being different, and the society
    This is a poetic, visually stunning movie with quite a number of really good feamle roles, fine performed. There is so much poetry and magic, the movie reminded me of Latin American literature very much. The same sense of marriage of the real and the unreal, coexisting in harmony.

    A young women, (who is also a single mother),a daugther of an European man and a Mexican curandera, arrives in a small traditional town in France, during the time of Lent . Not only she dares to open a chocolate shop during this time, but in additon her creations are considered kind of excentric, the same as the decor incorporating artifacts showing clearly Precolumbian heritage.The chocolate store owner breaks routines people had so far, and she is also able to help people hwo have psychological problems, healig human relations. But her otherness is not welcomed at first, people are distrustful, and she is a percived threat to their traditional ways.But they slowly warm up to her.

    But there is a problem: the local aristocrat, a count who enjoys to infulence the life in the town, is hostile toward the newcomer, and has a very strong influence on the local Catholic priest.The count is anaware how bad his plotting is, until one day he is faced witt the results.A sad story about a strong, dominant persoanlity and weak, gulible folowing.But in this conflict, clash of two cultures, one traditional and one alternative, and the opposition bewteen the creative and the routine, it is the other, the revolutionary is the side which will be victorius. The count is hostile, she just lives her live according to her conscience.And we sympathise with her right away.

    This movie is touching deeper societal problems, yet is very entertaining. The main focus is xenophobia, but also the appreacaiton of learnig across the cultures, and the need of positve influeneces of variosu kinds: will be this another culture, or just a different personality, or different kind of thinking.This movie, becasue is so poetic, (but maintains the integrtity of the story), is an ode to an opend mind.A movie a to enjoy and savour, a bitter-sweet one.And Juliette Binoche is wonderful as always. ...more info
  • More depth and complexity than the book: an English major's delight.
    One of my favorite movies, Chocolat reveals a French town laden with guilt and tradition, perpetuated by personal idiosyncracies and fears. When Vienne sweeps into town on the changing wind, she brings flavor and delicious possibility to the citizens, who gradually recognize that different is not necessarily evil and that "normal" does not automatically mean good or right.
    In this movie, Juliette Binoche is fantastic as Vienne, revealing both an energetic mother and a catalyst for societal metamorphosis. Johnny Depp adds pinache as a pseudopirate/"river rat." (He also composed the guitar pieces he plays in the movie.)

    I would recommend this movie to those who enjoy a meaningful story over flashy entertainment. But caution: you will crave chocolate!...more info
  • We all dream of Chocot..=)
    A Dream ensemble that creates a magical texture that flows like a calm stream. Picturesque visuals that take you away to that small town in France. A wonderful date movie to snuggle and enjoy your partners company. Chocolat will heighten your spirits and take you away like a cool northern breeze. This is my fifth viewing and it never gets old with us. It always teaches you something new. With 5 academy award nominations its a must have in your dvd collection. ...more info
  • A syrupy affair
    Before I get hit by the first rotten eggs, let me state that I am a foreigner living in France who likes good chocolate and finds lots of it in this part of the world, who buys his wine in the Gers region, somewhere near Lansquennet-sur-chose, in that beautiful part of France between Bordeaux and Toulouse, someone who has often walked along trails others have avoided - yet I feel that this is a lousy movie.

    The problem with this film is that it cannot make up its mind as to whether it wants to be a fairy tale or a political pamphlet and the rivalry between these two objectives makes for a lot of jarring noise.

    It starts out as a fairy tale with two little red riding-hoods, mother and daughter, arriving in a kind of petrified town. Their vocation seems to be the deliverance of the population from their self-imposed (senti)mental sklerosis by means of a magic drug, presented in a variety of forms to suit the various symptoms of the disease. A little pepper-laced chocolate will help a desperate housewife, for example, to revitalize a lazy husband.

    To make sure the spectator understands the message of the movie, the characters are presented in the most exaggerated manner. The good people are frighteningly good, the villains ridiculously villainous, the artists wonderfully artistic. This, then, makes it easy to include a few subliminal messages aimed at promoting the pleasant idea that the ultimate goal of our life is enjoyment. Anyone who thinks otherwise is tarred and feathered - a rather unpleasant treatment even if the tar, in this case, is chocolate syrup.

    Such a fate actually awaits the mayor of the town, a real model of a hypocritical brute whose family has been ruling the area for hundreds of years (the French Revolution notwithstanding) and even went so far as to drive all those gentle, fun-loving Huguenots into exile, back in the 17th century. He faults little red riding-hood for setting up her business during lent, he edits the sermons of the young priest (who is actually a very nice chap and later revolts) and he is behind a pogrom organized against this bunch of foreigners who come drifting down the river with their house-boat and dare throw a party during Holy Week.

    The experienced movie-goer has been waiting for such an explosion to strike and just did not know whether the chocolate shop would be blown up or the house-boat set on fire. In the end it is the house-boat, with the two lovers (little red riding-hood and one of the drifters) inside and but for the grace of God (if there is one) our valiant patissi¨¨re is saved from drifting out of sight like Ophelia in a pre-Raphaelite painting.
    It all takes place in an imaginary setting, unrelated to anything in the real France, the chocolate shop is mysteriously dark, the town frozen in stone without any sign of vegetation and with the church spire looming up at the end of every street like a watch-tower at Guantanamo; actual life can be found only down by the riverside where the trees are green even in early spring.

    And the actors? The men obviously suffer from the greasy hair that is de rigueur for a film set in 1959 and thus look a little silly, be they the friendly tramp or the ugly mayor. Juliette Binoche, pretty as a picture, apparently brought along, in her little suitcase, a whole collection of evening dresses to wear when mixing her wares or when divining the secret wishes of her customers by means of a magical disk that once belonged to a Maya priest. There is Judi Dench, wonderful in the role of the mean-looking but kind matron who owns the patisserie; she is not afraid of making herself look old, something that really makes her a good actress.

    But for all the actors' talent and their efforts, this film is miles away from the poetry of "Babette's feast" or the highly recommendable farce "Le bonheur est dans le pr¨¦"; this latter film, by the way, is set in the real Gers region of which "Chocolat" is only a poor pastiche.

    ...more info
  • Chocolat
    Interesting romantic film dealing with unsavory aspects of human nature while maintaining a positive feel - a rare thing that! This is a "feel good" movie that I would recomment highly. So highly that this was purchased as a gift!...more info
  • Chocolat is SWEET!
    The story line on this movie is really good but the 2 main draws for this movie are JOHNNY DEPP and CHOCOLATE! What more could you ask for! I love this movie....more info
  • My wife loves it.
    Chick flick. Gift for my wife, and she loves it. It makes her smile just to think about it, and that works for me. ...more info
  • Getting impatient with fake Irish
    This movie seems to be universally loved, and the cinematography is lush, but the pace thunked to a halt for us with the appearance of Johnny Depp. Maybe it is his unconvincing Irish accent, but a slow, charming film became self-conscious and unwatchable when he showed up as, for Pete's sake, an Irish "river rat." We like Depp but he seems out of place. (For a wonderful, also slow, but unerring Lasse Hallstrom film, consider 'An Unfinished Life'.) On the plus side, the preparation and serving of chocolate is done beautifully; the skills of the director and cinematographer in this regard are wonderful....more info
  • Good movie, small role for Depp
    This movie is likeable and thoughtful and fun, and obviously Johnny Depp fans will be interested in it, even though his role is small. Judi Dench is of course marvelous, and so was Alfred Molina. I regretted that the special features additions were a bit skimpy, but the movie is worth the purchase price....more info
  • A sweet delightful treat
    Tragically, Johhny Depp has only a small role in this film. But, what a fine role it is. Alright, so he doesn't necessarily make the movie, Juliette Binoche is fantastic too, as well as the rest of the supporting cast. They all do a great job of portraying what life was probably like in a small French village, in that time period. It seems like every character is hiding some little secret. Its a great mix of mystery and romance and even a little bit of fantasy. This refreshing movie should be seen by all chocolate lovers, and even non-lovers!...more info
  • Chocolate as a life-changing experience.
    Based on the novel Chocolat by Joanne Harris, this charming film tells the bittersweet story of a young mother, Vianne Rocher (Juliette Binoche), who arrives with "a sly wind . . . from the north" at the fictional French village of Lansquenet-sous-Tannes (filmed in the village of Flavigny-sur-Ozerain) with her six-year-old daughter, Anouk (Victoire Thivisol from Ponette), where she opens La Chocolaterie Maya, a small chocolaterie. Lansquenet-sous-Tannes is known for its tranquillit¨¦ (synonymous for conformity). When her chocolate transforms the lives of the local villagers, some of the repressed townsfolk, including Comte de Reynaud (Alfred Molina), become suspicious, wondering if Vianne is perhaps a witch or a pagan priestess. One of her concoctions has the effect of Viagra, igniting long-dormant passions, while others inspire peace, love, and understanding. Vianne's own heart melts when she meets Roux (Johnny Depp), a gypsy rascal who lives on a houseboat with his guitar. The film has many obvious shortcomings, including a dumbed-down storyline (which ignores serious social issues like racism, domestic violence, and conformity), but like a warm cup of cocoa at the end of the day, Binoche, Depp, and the film's sensual, poetic ambience make the film's weaknesses easy to overlook.

    G. Merritt ...more info
  • Johnny Depp
    As far as I am concerned, Johnny Depp is best thing in this film.
    How sweet and handsome he is!...more info
  • Superb, great movie
    Chocolat was a great movie. I am a big fan of Johnny Depp.
    This movie had a little bit of everything. Comedy, drama and a love story.
    I recommend this movie.
    ...more info
  • A PLEASANT CONFECTION...
    This is a pleasant, though obvious, adult fable, broadly hinting at the often sensual, restorative, and mystical properties of chocolate. A beautiful and mysterious woman, Vianne, delightfully played by the winsome Juliette Binoche, along with her daughter, Anouk, arrive in a remote and very provincial French town, where she rents a patisserie from an elderly, crotchety woman, magnificently played by Judi Dench, and turns it into a chocolatier. From here, she concocts visually dazzling, mouthwatering amounts of chocolates, along with copious cups of hot cocoa made from a very special recipe, that are always sold or given by Vianne with a Julia Roberts style, mega watt smile. Vianne is always kind, compassionate, and tolerant. She is, therefore, a person to be feared by those who lack those traits. That is why she is greeted with bare civility by the town's mayor, wonderfully played by the always underrated, very talented Alfred Molina. He is a sanctimonious, intolerant, unhappy, religious prig, who insists on writing the sermons for the town's young, beleagured priest. Offended by Vianne's easy charm and her resistance to his invitation to attend church services, the mayor, whose hardened exterior hides a profound sorrow, declares war on Vianne, as he perceives her to be a threat to his established order of things.

    Meanwhile, Vianne finally warms up and disarms her crotchety landlady, jumpstarts a tired marriage for two villagers, and befriends a battered woman, played with appropriate pathos, delicacy, and spirit by Lena Olin. She also manages a flirtation with an Irish drifter named Roux, well played by Johnny Depp, though they seem to lack chemistry together. She gains the confidence of those willing to become friendly with her through the mystical properties of her chocolates and hot cocoa, changing their lives forever. Though the mayor has vowed to drive Vianne's business into the ground and run her out of town, Vianne hangs on, determined to stay until the North winds blow her and her daughter to yet another unhappy town. What happens in this town, however, ultimately changes the lives of its mayor, the villagers, and even Vianne, forever.

    This is a lovely, well acted, and moderately entertaining film that thematically deals with the mystical, sensual, and palliative properties of chocolate. It is a frothy, pleasant confection. If you want a film, dealing with a similar theme, that will fully satisfy an appetite, however, one need look no further than the superb film, "Like Water for Chocolate"....more info
  • Witchy Good Movie
    Vianne drifts into a tranquil French village with her daughter Anouk in the winter of 1959. The mother and daughter duo wear red capes reminiscent of Little Red Riding Hood. Vianne's newly opened chocolat¨¦rie is a source of attraction and fear. Vianne's ability to revive the villagers' passions threatens to disrupt their traditions. The Christian mayor sees Vianne as the enemy and tries to shut down her chocolat¨¦rie. Romance arrives when gypsy river rats led by Johnny Depp arrive in town. A triumph of feminine magic over masculine oppression....more info
  • pleasant and perfect
    I will only add my voice to the numerous positive reviews already listed. This is my favorite movie. The characters are well crafted and real. The themes are timeless. The music and cinematography stunning. This movie is to film what artisan chocolate is to sweets.

    If you enjoy this movie than try reading the books - Chocolat and Girl With No Shadow. ...more info
  • Delicious and chocolaty sweet; a film that satisfies down to our creamy center...
    If ever there was a movie that was a delicious as its subject then `Chocolat' is that movie. Making a movie about chocolate, the one guilty pleasure that transcends age, gender and race, is an idea in itself, but making that film creamy, sweet and pure is something all its own. `Chocolat' tastes so incredibly sweet on the viewers palate, a film that coats our eyes with its rich goodness and makes us crave even more of what this beautiful film has to offer.

    Okay, enough with the obvious chocolate innuendoes.

    All kidding aside, `Chocolat' is a wonderful film, one that I never expected to like as much as I did. My wife had seen the first part of this film some time ago and reported that it was horrible and thus she turned it off. I must admit that the advertisements and posters for the film failed to draw me in (although after seeing the film and casting glance at the poster I can't see how Binoche's smile didn't draw me in at first glance) and so I accepted her complaint and tossed aside all aspirations of seeing the film even though my wife has significantly lower taste in film than I do and I generally reject any and all of her opinions on movies. Now the other night, late at night I must add, this little film came on the food channel and I decided to watch it. I only caught the first half hour before sleep overcame me but that first half hour was, in a word, spellbinding. I insisted that my wife give it another try and so we rented to film the following day, and while she is not as intoxicated with this film as I am she readily admits that her initial response to this movie was wrong.

    The film centers around Vianne Rocher, a mysterious woman who moves to a reserved and very religious French town with her young daughter Anouk. The town, about to observe Lent, immediately turn their backs to Vianne as she opens her chocolatier and tempts the townsfolk with all that they have vowed to abstain from. No one opposes her more than the uptight mayor Comte Paul de Reynaud who comes to despise Vianne and everything she stands for. He watches his power over the town slip from his grasp as they all begin consulting Vianne and falling prey so-to-speak to her chocolaty deliciousness. Yes, Vianne is just as delectable as the chocolates she makes. Her smile alone is intoxicating.

    The film is lovely to look for the cinematography is marvelous. The acting is brilliant as well, from Binoche's devilishly sweet performance to Judi Dench's crotchety Armande Voizin to Alfred Molina's malicious Comte and Lena Olin's mysteriously beautiful Josephine. Everyone involved here delves into their characters and delivers beautifully. Johnny Depp has a very small role although it may seem from advertisements that his role would be larger. He's effective but no where near as memorable as the remaining cast. Carrie-Anne Moss delivers a nice little performance here as Armande's cold hearted daughter and young Victoire Thivisol manages to make Anouk a real girl, immature and foolish yet with a sense of maturity that would accompany her situation.

    I don't know if this would be constituted a spoiler, but I wanted to talk a bit about Pantoufle since I feel he is really the moral center of the film. When the film opens we are introduced to Pantoufle, Anouk's imaginary friend kangaroo. He is wounded and cannot leave her side. At the end of the film Pantoufle is healed and bounces away from the town, and Anouk is happy for this. Throughout the film mention is made of the fact Vianne moves around a lot and she even mentions herself that while she tells herself it's good for Anouk she knows in her heart that Anouk hates it. To me Pantoufle was a metaphor for this very fact. Anouk longed to stay put, thus the fact that Pantoufle could not leave her side. He was wounded and thus could not travel. She wished that she too could not travel but could experience some stability. When she finally receives that stability at the films end she has no use for Pantoufle anymore for she has what she wants and so her subconscious sets him free.

    So, in the end I must say that I LOVED this movie, truly adored it. It made me smile and rarely do films do that. Maybe that's because I often seek out the film that depresses and saddens me because I enjoy the emotional connection to cinema, but it's nice to watch something that brings a smile and sense of joy to the soul, and `Chocolat' does just that....more info
  • Would you like to come in for some chocolate?
    Can there ever be a true balance between Reason and Passion? Is it even worth the time generations of philosophers and thinkers have devoted to the subject? Lasse H?llstrom makes a beautiful cinematic fable out of this endless human dilemma in "Chocolat". A wonderful, moving (and surprisingly fun) movie to watch. Not only it features a great and magnificently-ensembled multinational cast which includes Johnny Depp, Carrie-Ann Moss, Lena Olin and even divine Judi Dench. It is the subtle, heart-felt approach the director manages to convey to such a deep and thick story line. It makes us think and reflect on how Humanity deals with changes and innovation as opposed to rigidness and prejudice-filled attitudes within the often stiff and unmovable boundaries of wrongfully implemented morality schemes. Vianne Rocher (beautifully portrayed by Juliette Binoche) is a sort of magic-embedded "Mary-Poppins" with exotic roots, who travels along towns establishing impromptu chocolat stores, along with her young daughter Anouk. This time the cool northern wind brings her to the little French villa of Lansquenet, where life appears to have not changed a bit in a hundred years. She opens a chocolate store much to the dismay of the self-procclaimed town's moral police (Count de Renaud, played by Alfred Molina). But rather than challenging the rigid and linear morality parameters in town by way of sensuous and forbidden pleasures, Vianne and her tiny little chocolate place in reality will slowly (but fiercely) establish a much needed paradise of simple and plain tolerance for the villagers. She will start winning the town over not only with her magic recipes for the most delicious chocolate treats, but also with her honest and sincere ways for dealing with the everydays of human nature and understanding of real people. This movie is just a treat. Indulge yourself in some rich chocolate. I bet you'll like it. ...more info
  • Spirit Wins Over Oppression
    Alfred Molina controls and squeezes his tiny French village with a tight net built on his repressed frustrations and disappointments. What makes this film so endearing and simultaneously tense is that Molina's motives seem so irrational until the aforementioned is revealed to the viewer. Unfortunately for him, and as a disguised blessing to the inhabitants, Juliette Binoche breezes into this little place and brings "paganism" in the form of spirit, beauty, compassion, and delicious food that warms the senses and the citizens. This simple act slowly loosens Mayor Molina's religious and puritanical grip on this town, to his absolute fury. The final "showdown" occurs when he realizes that his own closeted will is slowly draining away his life and the joy that he has allowed to elude him. The power of chocolate..who would have thought that a little taste would have been his undoing? This is a lovely film. Movies do not have to be Oscar material, or drowning in special effects to be sublime or memorable. Chocolat is both....more info