Please distribute this URL as you see fit. By Ted Baldwin
Amusing, isn't it?
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Chocolat" It is

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Ok Picture 2000
 This film was part of the overblown love fest Hollywood Critics had with women-empowerment film in 2000.
     I am addicted to chocolate. To avoid having cravings I stayed away from this little excursion into 1950-60's France.

Part of me also felt that this would be a full blown chick-flick. It is, and on the order of Thelma and Louise, and something even gets blowed up.
This film is superior to T&L, and there is nothing wrong with CF's in general, but they have a particularly strange way of looking at things.

Like T&L, Chocolat has one theme that stands out - "The right of a woman to choose her own death".

T&L drove off a cliff to escape the "man". In Chocolat, Judy Dench is an elderly woman who refuses to follow a strict or even healthy diet, and literally eats herself to death. She is seen as heroic for dying "her way".

Sorry, but it seems a little sick to me that women extol the virtues of death over life, for the sake of "rightness". I think I'd rather be wrong and alive than dead and right.

Back to the feature.

When a chill little North wind blows into a tight-ass French town perched high above a river (seemingly untouched by the relatively recent WWII, the lives of the local residents are changed forever. On the heels of this intrusive gust are a mother and child. Renting space from the aforementioned Dench, they proceed to stir up trouble in the form of milky chocolate, bittersweet chocolate, chocolate hearts, chocolate love pills, etc. etc.

Spin the wheel and it will reveal your most chocolaty passion. Part mystic, part fortune-teller, part Oprah, this new-chocolat-age prophet sets about changing the hearts of this devoutly catholic and rigidly moralistic town.

Mr. Mayor is sullen and dark and trying to undo them from the start. The plot sort of revolves around whether the stick will ever get pulled out of this guy's ass or not. (Would take about a week.)

Complications arise when a victim of domestic abuse seeks shelter in the Chocolatierry, and then again when the South wind blows up some skirts and drops Johnny Depp in the cradle of chocolatization.

This is probably all some kind of metaphor for life, but there was a lot of chocolat in this little store. I cannot imagine where everything came from, and it went together kind of quick, for her just having moved in and all.
Anyway, there is a lot of struggling, it is played pretty well, and I can recommend it, except if you are a women you might get the idea that death is preferable to not getting your own way...
Obligatories and Cliches in Chocolat
     This is a sweet little film, but hardly best picture fodder. It looks and feels like one of the classic Truffaut films, or another European slice-of-life period piece. Better if seen with someone.

1. Free-spirited women charting their own destiny no matter what men say. (Why do they even care what men say? Why is it an issue at all?)

2. Evil churchmen

3. River rabble who can play musical instruments like no body's business.

4. Magic sex elixir that saves a couple's marriage.

5. Twitchy old woman

6. reclusive child

7. Domineering overprotective mother

8. Hot sex between south and north wind.

9. Redecorating the chocolat shop ritual

10. Townspeople being won over

11. Old people in love

12. Cute dog

13. Young girl who saves the day by dropping granma's ashes all over everything, but instead of declaring her independence and in your face right to strew granma, she actually apologizes and kowtows to what Mama wants. (Gee, she is being considerate of another's feelings and THAT has no place in the modern women's lexicon.)

14. Tight ass city official with aforementioned stick.

15. Obligatory domestic violence scene.

16. Obligatory scarfing chocolat binge scene.

17. Obligatory stranger knows better than kid's own mother scene , except about her kid.

18. Obligatory scraggly bearded cute independent male-in-the-wind will he come back or won't he character that is just a subplot with no real definition or reason for being except he is another level of bohemian that the townspeople cannot abide so why is he even there except as a male clone of the female star.

19. Obligatory voice over like in Road Warrior.

20. Obligatory man can't live without a woman but woman can live without a man scenario. What the hell ever happened to partnershipping and togetherness instead of all of this crappy one-upsmanship and ups-womanship?

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