Temptation is all around us. From frivolous, extravagant purchases to the simple joys, we all encounter them in some form or another. Christ walked this earth as a man and faced many similar challenges – we, however seem more susceptible to luring pursuits, but like Jesus have the option to say “no.” Being the son of God gave Him no “special” privileges for resistance, contrary to secular belief. Miramax’s 2000 film Chocolat concocts an array of tempting concepts, or more precisely: confectionary delights but like so many other stories, the script goes much deeper than that.
Its premise brings two red-cloaked figures into a small, tight-knit village one blustery night where villagers quickly pass judgment. The pair is a strong-willed businesswoman named Vianne and her young daughter. Quickly the two set to work opening a shop which angers its town father. In Vianne, they see a threat that could disrupt their “proper” ways of life. Because she doesn’t change her flamboyant lifestyle to appease their set of rules, they whisper about her behind her back. Irrespective of the considerable weight the mayor carries with him, Vianne still finds kindred spirits in a number of people. It’s these relationships that win her some respect. Most of the villagers are willing to stand with her, to encourage her on the good she’s doing when circumstances become difficult.
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I don’t remember a lot about the first time I saw this, but what I do recall with vivid clarity was just how much I fell in love with the unusual but magical fable. It was like a fairy-tale but with a darker, more realistic slant that made it more relatable to audiences. The word “tempt” often associates with the ancient Biblical story of Satan’s tempting of Eve. This story isn’t connected to a Christian viewpoint but its parallels cannot be mere coincidence either. Unlike Eve, who knew exactly what she was doing was wrong, Vianne isn’t in the wrong.
The film tends to paint a picture of deceit and almost is asking us to believe that maybe she does have a hidden agenda – and she does: helping people. I simply do not buy that her motives were anything but selfless. She attempts to run a legitimate business, making a life for herself and her daughter in a place that could be “home,” but she’s also has a burdne to help people. Fortunately for Vianne, her life doesn’t “end” because of a staid, older man’s bid to be rid of her, nor was she banished from a perfect world.
Still to this day, this is one of the most captivating stories in cinema. Not only do people judge Vianne for the way she lives her life, but the people who are most critical aren’t above reproach. One man stands up against impropriety yet he isn’t willing to come clean about both he and his wife’s faults. If you were to take a microscope to the villagers in the tiny place, you probably would uncover many flaws in its people. All God expects is for us to do our best; to be able to look at the next with a clear conscious. Recently did re-watch this and am struck by its thought-provoking script; this is especially true of the young cleric’s sermon.
During one of the mayor’s weakest moments he succumbs to temptation and is then found out. In turn, this inspires the young man to take back his free speech rights by preaching a homily that is entirely his own reflections, and not subject to approval. In it he encourages his parishioners not to measure goodness by what we may deny ourselves but rather by what we *embrace*; what we create… and who we include. It’s preceded by his questioning how Jesus Christ lives here on earth and not just His ultimate death on the cross but by His humility; that He’s a man and lives as one.
Most consider chocolate a little, innocent piece of “sin,” especially women. Luckily for me, I inherited my mother’s tendency not to crave sweets, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy a piece of candy as much as the next person. Scholars, pastors and every-day Christians who enrich their daily walk through prayer believe we sin every single day in thought, word and deed. That we cannot “help” ourselves. That poses interesting scenarios. Do you believe that? Do you believe that there isn’t a single person who can survive a length of time without sin? That no one is faultless — that babies are sinful?
My mother is one not among that belief. At the end of the day, no matter our convictions, it comes down to you and God. We have a free will and with that comes moral obligations; to chose right vs. wrong. To use the brain God gifts us, and automatically know the path less taken is usually better. Is it wrong to see something in a store window and think – that dress is gorgeous; and it’s on sale today, too! Maybe… but is it a sin? Fortunately, I don’t judge that nor do I believe it to be. Is God going to prohibit us entrance into Heaven because we bought that little black dress we didn’t need? Coveting something that is not ours or belongs to someone else and buying a frivolous purchase are two completely different things. Will life go on without that LBD? Yes, of course it will. Nevertheless, there isn’t a lot asked us by God, even though many find it daunting, His requests and commandments are very clear-cut for anyone willing to follow.
So, come on — be honest, what are your little “guilty pleasures”? Is it a fabulous new pair of shoes (I love shoes!) or perhaps that illusive collector’s edition book? Maybe, an awesome surround-sound system … Or is it as close as your local grocery store in a simple, decedent, rich box of chocolates.
My guilty pleasure can be summarized in two words: movie collection. My dad remarked on the size of it last night, inferring that I have spent thousands of dollars on it. And it's true — over the last fourteen or so years that I have been collecting, I have spent a ton of money on it. And I have gotten a ton of enjoyment out of my collection.
I'm torn between being ashamed of it and proud of it, because on one hand… that's a lot of money to piddle away $20 at a time. But on the other, I never paid full price for any of it, I've watched each film enough to warrant owning it, and I live a long way from a rental store.
I'm not a big spender; I'm kind of a tightwad, actually. So I don't buy anything else in excess. I guess in that sense I can justify my collection. *shrugs*
Over the years, my family has built up quite a DVD collection too! Whether it was through gifts or our own buying, we have a lot. Where BBC dramas are concerned, I nearly ALWAYS buy them because, as I said, I don't use Netflix or any on-line rental service. Still, as you said, I look for sale prices and refuse to pay full price for them. (Thanks, Amazon!)
In life, you have to have fun enjoying something – having a movie collection sounds like just the ticket. =D Since you are so far removed from easy renting, it seems justified – if you ask me.
You know, I should never watch "Confessions of a Shopaholic" (which I did last night) because it makes me feel guilty for shopping! She bought shoes and scarves and hats and clothes; I buy DVD's! =P
I like your justification for my collection, thus I am going to agree with it. Plus, it's not as if it is my entire life. It's not like I sit in that DVD closet stroking my DVD's and crooning "my precious…"
… or anything. ;)
Oooh! In case you didn't know, I LOVE that movie! I actually have a review of it – now you've made me want to "dust if off" and post it, although I doubt any of the girls who read this blog haven't already seen it. =D
Hmmm… I have no doubt that you DO NOT sit in the DVD closet and talk to your movies… I'd be worried if you did, Charity. LOL! =)
BTW: your new "Tude" layouts look great. =)
I don't talk to my DVD's, no. My DVD PLAYER on the other hand… ("… why are you not working properly? OPEN!!")
Watching that movie, my timing was off — I'm going shopping on Tuesday for CLOTHES. *headdesk*
Glad you like the layouts! Hope you like the new name that goes along with it. ;)
Yeah, I talk to my DVD player… and computer… and CD player… a LOT. If they aren't being "nice," I just yell at them – hey, they deserve it right!? LOL!
Oooh! Have fun on your shopping spree! When I went a couple of weeks ago, I found a few new things – so far, I am loving the fall style. Not sure if that is a good or bad thing…
Seriously, you renamed the e-zine!? I had no idea that was in the works. I had to go on-line to see what you were talking about. =) The autumn issue is going to be full of surprises… and great, as usual.
I also talk to the internet… its slowness, pages not loading, etc., and I sometimes tell off morons ON the internet without ever saying anything to them. ;)
Yup, renamed it. Never have been totally happy with the other name, but I like "Femnista," so that'll stick, I think. It suits me — and the mag, and my writers — really well. =)
Me, too! The Internet is a constant "annoyance," although I do not want to complain too much because I am really pleased with the DSL upgrade – it is twenty times better than dial-up!
Well, that's cool that you renamed Charity's Tude (I didn't mean to sound as if I was unhappy about it). Your new name is very attention-grabbing, which is awesome. =D When you are creating something unique, you also want a unique name to go with it. I am glad you are happy with it – when you work so hard to accomplish something, it is always good to actually like it at completion. =)
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