‘Chocolat’ (2000): A Good But Underrated Period Drama with Johnny Depp

September 7, 2011 4 Comments

Not everyone will find a touching story in the comfort of this independent movie. There’s some sad things about this 2000 Miramax film, Chocolat. I cannot remember exactly when first I saw it, but I do recall just how much I fell in love with it. Now it’s one of those movies I wish I’d watch more often.

Chocolat (2000) Film Review

One cold, blustery day a brisk wind brings not just a sudden chill but the sly North ushers two figures, cloaked in red, into a small French village. A place that believes in tranquility and the “proper” way of seeing things done. Any small thing that may upset thier way of doing things goes straight to the mayor, Count de Reynaud (Alfred Molina). When single mother Vianne (Juliette Binoche) and her six-year-old daughter (Victoire Thivisol) appears, it doesn’t take long for her to create a stir.

‘Chocolat’ (2000): A Good But Underrated Period Drama with Johnny Depp. A review of the 2000 Miramax film. Text © Rissi JC

Living a gypsy lifestyle her entire life, Vianne raises her daughter in much the same way. Renting a small shop from a bitter woman (Judi Dench), Vianne sets to work at her trade, and opens a decedent chocolate shop. Much to the horror of the village she does so during the period of lent. Then the summer brings more gypsies to the small town. Since they remain on the river, no one can take legan action, but citizens start a petition to ban them from their shops while Vianne befriends them. But when she drops her guard around the dashing Roux (Johnny Depp), life is further complicated.

‘Chocolat’ (2000): A Good But Underrated Period Drama with Johnny Depp. A review of the 2000 Miramax film. Text © Rissi JC

As typical historical dramas go, this one is unusual and the best part about that is, it isn’t afraid of embracing its differences. Even all of these years later, Chocolat is still one of the most captivating movies I’ve seen. It unfolds to its own unique flavor, and is actually successful doing so. It’s an interesting character study, and to watch Vianne be judged for the way she lives, but all around her are people not above reproach.

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One of the most poignant and perhaps underrated scenes is the young cleric’s sermons. The young man discovers something that inspires him to take back his “free speech” rights by preaching a homily that is his own, and not pre-approved by someone. In it he encourages his parishioners not to measure our goodness by what we may deny ourselves but rather by what we embrace; what we create, and who we include. Vianne beliefs actually threaten the village, because of the change her presence implies. She lays the groundwork for open-minded friendship and trusts by her actions, people will see her as a friend. Strictly speaking of production values, this is a lovely movie. From the food preparation (incredibly impressive) to the acting, everything is gorgeous.

‘Chocolat’ (2000): A Good But Underrated Period Drama with Johnny Depp. A review of the 2000 Miramax film. Text © Rissi JC

Temptation is all around us in this world, so seeing a movie that takes a normally innocent delicacy (like chocolate) and exploit it is a very interesting study. While chocolate may be a kind of “sin” to many of us, shouldn’t we be more like Vianne and look at the people around us?

(Disclosure: this post does contain affiliate links; if you buy anything through these links, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. Thank you to anyone who makes a purchase through these links. Read the disclosure page for details.)

You can find Chocolat (2000) digitally on Amazon Video

‘Chocolat’ (2000): A Good But Underrated Period Drama with Johnny Depp. A review of the 2000 Miramax film. #Movies #Drama #GoodMovies #PeriodDrama #FWArchives Click To Tweet

Content: One semi-graphic sex scene is shaded by billowy curtains before a closer shot shows movement and barely avoided upper female nudity. Later, by implication, another couple is intimate. Suggestions imply a man hits his wife and another woman left her husband. Minor suggestive and/or crude remarks creep in. Vianne sells a special kind of chocolate meant to arouse a husband’s sexual desires. There’s uses of da*n and h*ll, along with remarks about Vianne being an atheist. There’s lying, and a woman has a child out-of-wedlock. Chocolat is PG13.

About Rissi JC

amateur photog. #bookblogger. downton abbey. inspys. internet-photo-shy. writer. the aspiration is to someday write professionally. a girl can dream, right?

Rissi JC

amateur photog. #bookblogger. downton abbey. inspys. internet-photo-shy. writer. the aspiration is to someday write professionally. a girl can dream, right?

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4 Comments

  • Ella September 9, 2011 at 5:50 am

    I remember hearing about this when it came out…and then a couple of years ago…but I have never seen it. Sounds intriguing. What I like is that it appears to be in a box all its own; I can't put it in a category with anything.

    Hope you are doing well!

  • Rissi September 10, 2011 at 2:59 am

    "Chocolat" is one of the most enchanting, charming movies I've seen. I recently found myself having the TV all to myself for an evening and wound up putting this into the DVD player. I was reminded how good the movie was – I just LOVE it. It IS really "different," but in a good way. Enjoy it, if you decide to rent it, Ella. =)

    Have a great weekend!

  • Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com October 12, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    Lovely review.

  • Rissi October 13, 2011 at 3:03 am

    Thank you, Juju! This was an easy review to write because the movie is that good. =)

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