Chocolat: Chocolate’s To Boost Your Sex Drive

Chocolat is a romantic comedy drama film directed by Lasse Hallstrom, based on the book of the same name by Joanne Harris. The plot sees chocolatier Vianne (Juliette Binoche), move to a small religious French town in the middle of Lent, as she begins to sell her devilish wares whilst most of the residents of the small town are fasting she quickly makes herself a number of enemies. Can a good heart and a lot of chocolates change the locals minds about her?

Finally! After all this time, after countless numbers of films that demonise them, finally I have found a film that has positive Traveller representation: honestly it is nice to finally find a film that treats this group of people as humans, as not as some sort of easy scape goat for whatever ills are going on at the time, however, it is also sad as it makes me think of few other films share this film’s progressive outlook.    

I enjoyed this film for the wholesome good time that it is. There are some sad things that happen in it, but in the end everything works out and everyone has a nice party- and in the times we are currently living in sometimes that is all you need to stop the nihilism for finally settling in.

There are a number of strong actors giving great performances here. Firstly, you have Binoche who creates a character that is perhaps one of the most likeable characters in all of cinema, and who you immediately want to see succeed, but also one that clearly has a dark past and is somewhat empty. Secondly you have Doctor Octopus himself Alfred Molina, as the films villain who is equally as sublime as the lead. Molina plays the leader of the town who takes an immediate dislike to Vianne and who goes to war with her, the two have an interesting relationship and Molina adds a lot of layers and depth to the character. Finally, you have the always marvellous but often overlooked Peter Stormare, as the real villain of the film an angry drunk/ wife beater shopkeeper who also forms a dislike of Vianne after she has a negative impact on his life. Stormare brings us a character that is easy to hate, but who also has more to him than simple villainy: moreover, he also brings some of his trademark weirdness to the role and gives us a few scenes that are unintentionally hilarious.

Johnny Depp is also in this film, at the height of his heart stealing good looks and he is a perfectly fine romantic lead. Shame they didn’t cast an actual traveller in the role but ah well it is Hollywood after all.

Overall, a lovely heart-warming film.

Pros.

The wholesomeness

A nice happy ending

The romance

Positive Traveller representation

Cons.

A few slow moments

4.5/5

Reviewed by Luke  

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