Cast-Juliette Binoche, Judi Dench, Alfred Molina, Lena Olin, Johnny Depp
Vianne and her daughter, Anouk, are travelers. In 1959 they blow into a small, devout village in France and open up a chocolate shop at the beginning of Lent. This angers the mayor and moral leader of the village and the two struggle against each other for their place in the community.
Why I Love It– There are so many things I love about this movie, but the thing that stands out the most is the mysterious and mystical storytelling. It is magical realism with a message. A story of the good (the godly followers) and the bad (everyone else) it was told in such a lavish way that it wasn’t the same, stale story we’ve seen before. There is whimsy but it also gives you something to think about.
I thought the casting was perfect. Juliette Binoche was perfect as Vianne. She was kind but almost eager to stir the pot. The glint in her eye let you know that things were not as calm as they seemed. And Judi Dench was flawless as usual. I’ve seen Alfred Molina in many movies, but this is the role I usually associate him with in my mind. And, Johnny, oh sweet, sweet Johnny. He is a sexy man ‘cleaned up’ as a river rat. His subdued performance was a change from some of his more flamboyant roles and he worked well with Juliette.
And the chocolate…oh the beautiful chocolate! It made me want to go out and buy some handmade works of art. Vianne liked to guess people’s favorite chocolate and I like to think that she would have chosen her hot chocolate for me.
There is beauty on the screen and in the movie’s message. I can’t say that the message of tolerance didn’t have its problems but I found them easy to overlook. I was too busy looking at Johnny and the chocolate to care 😉
(courtesy of Bookbath)