Saturday, July 3, 2010

Chocolat (2000)


Stars : Juliette Binoche, Judi Dench , Alfred Molina, Lina Olin , Johnny Depp, Victoire Thivisol.

Director :
Lesse Hallstrom.

It happens sometimes that when we are in a bad mood and suddenly out of nowhere we get a pleasant surprise and everything is back on track. I was heart broken by Argentina's loss in the world cup and had gone for an early nap ,but just woke up in time to watch Spain win but it wasn't enough to cheer me up. After the match I was just channel surfing, was halted by a beautiful face on Zee Studios, got hooked for the next two hours and the flavor of the movie just got me.

Vianne Rocher(Juliette Binoche) has a gift which has a side effect attached to it. She travels across France with her daughter Anouk(Victoire Thivisol) following the northern winds. She has a gift of creating magic with chocolate. Her creations don't just melt in mouth but it also melts the inhibitions in the heart. She reaches an old and classical village in her journey. The village has a devout mayor, Comte Paul de Reynaud (Alfred Molina) who almost guides the village. Vianne opens a chocolaterie in the village during the period of Lent. The mayor considers Vianne as a bad influence on the people and tries to oppose her. Vianne's chocolaterie starts changing the life of the village. Soon her creation brings back the spice in married life of a couple, she manages to bring cheers into an ailing old lady Armande Voizin(Judi Dench) life, reunites her with her grandson Luc. Vianne is also able to help Josephine(Lena Olin) who has been living with her cruel and chauvinistic husband all her life. She is able to make Josephine believe, that her life can be much better. But the Comte is still after her and stands against her. He even uses the priest and the church to push Vianne to the corner.

The things worsen when a group of Gypsy's anchor at their river bank. The mayor and the whole village is against this group led by Roux(Johnny Depp) staying in the village and according to the mayors ruling boycott's the whole group. Vianne helps Roux ,towards whom she is attracted physically and I feel emotionally too as both were almost outlaws for the village and had the same kind of life, a wandering one. The story revolves around these characters and their fight within.

I got to say Vianne's character was so delightful and was so soothing that it had to be played by someone who had to be extremely beautiful, should be able to light up the screen with just her presence and smile. The warmth within had to be reflected on the screen and I feel casting Juliette Binoche as Vianne was perfect. She is beautiful, her smile just melts the heart. I haven't seen or may be I have seen her work before but I got to say she was perfect. She was charming with her words, her physicality, softness and was calm on outside even though her character had many wars within. Judi Dench, her transformation from Madam M to grandma Armande was graceful and had that love in those eyes. Scenes between Luc and Armande were beautiful and always had the appropriate amount of innocence and tenderness.

Johnny Depp, big big fan and when he came into the picture , though had a small role but man you give him a minutes role and he will carve a mark in your mind for his guest appearance even. He is so good. He was brilliant again, though had nothing much to do but was really important for the story. Mr.Alfred Molina is a versatile artist and has always been good. He plays the mayor to perfection. He lets his character's ego overpower the man and that kind of gives the idea of how good he was.

The script is a screen adaption of novel with the same name by Joanne Harris. Director Lesse Hallstrom does captures the sweetness of not just the chocolate but of the people. I don't know if it's him or the artists but every actor is invisible in the movie, only the characters are visible.

There have been a lots and lots of movies where a central character affects and changes the life of people but I felt this was a bit different because of it wasn't just the character of Vianne but it was the people affected that came out and changed their lives.

I had a great time watching this movie and I hope u do too. A good watch.

Plus :Simplicity of the story, characters and the performances.

Minus :Didn't noticed.

Rating :8.5/10

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