directed by Lasse Hallstrom
Category: "Drama"
Year of Release:2000
Date Added:04/04/2008
Date Watched:11/30/2005
My Rating:8

Reviews for Chocolat

Review - Chocolat

It’s 1959 in an uptight French village rulled sternly by Count De Reynaud. He’s not at all happy when Vianne, an unmarried woman and Anouk, her young daughter open a chocolate shop during lent. He takes it upon himself to warn the villagers away and impress upon the young village priest the necessity of preaching against vices.

But some of the villagers aren’t so convinced. There’s Armande, an old woman dying of diabetes and estranged from her daughter Caroline and grandson Luc. Armande finds comfort in the shop and the friendship of Vianne. There’s also Josephine, whom Vianne persuades to leave her abusive husband and work in the shop. There are others who find courage or passion in the tiny shop.

Things come to a head when a boatload of gypsies ties up at the dock. Their leader, Roux and Vianne are attracted to each other, even though the Count has urged everyone to ban the gypsies from their shops. Armande asks Vianne to throw her a 70th birthday party. The party ends on Roux’ boat. That night, Josephine’s husband, thinking he’s acting on orders of the Count, sets the boat on fire. Nobody dies, but it’s a close call. Vianne is ready to give up and leave town. But Josephine and the other villagers friendly to Vianne take over the shop and keep making chocolates, convincing Vianne to stay. Armande dies happy, and her daughter and grandson become friends of Vianne’s. On Easter Sunday, the Count breaks into the candy shop, intending to ruin it, but instead starts eating the chocolates until he’s in a stupor. Vianne finds him the next morning and forgives him. She throws a festival that afternoon and everyone comes, including the Count and the priest. The next summer, Roux returns.

I liked it. The theology of the church was rather simplistic, and Vianne, as the hero, was the one person in town who never attended. But the “temptations” the villagers were induging in weren’t bad ones, and the characters were delightful.
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