Chocolat movie cast: Juliette Binoche, Johnny Depp, Judi Dench, Alfred Molina, Lena Olin, Carrie-Anne Moss
Chocolat movie director: Lasse Hallström
Chocolate movie rating: 3.5 stars
Before Johnny Depp got embroiled in a series of controversies, before he lost his money and movies, and when he still made hearts swoon, the Hollywood star had briefly featured in a drama called Chocolat in 2000 with the immensely talented and just as charismatic French actor Juliette Binoche.
Now, Chocolat wasn’t a great hit at the time of its release, however it still picked up a few Academy Award nominations — including one for Best Actress (Juliette Binoche) and Best Picture. Shot in the picturesque locations of France and England, Chocolate is at once a delight for the eyes as well as the tired soul. It has been shot beautifully by Roger Pratt, whose credit includes movies such as Troy and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
While things like lighting, camera work and sound matter a great deal in a film, I feel that half of the work is done when you have a well-written script at hand. All the writer needs to do is to have clarity of thought — what am I trying to tell the audience via this movie? And Robert Nelson Jacobs, who adapted Joanne Harris’ novel of the same name, answers this question succinctly.
The plot is simple — a woman called Vianne Rocher (Binoche) is a gypsy who moves into a sleepy and rather boring French village. She opens a chocolatier at the place with her daughter Anouk (Victoire Thivisol) and they change the lives of the people around them in wondrous, inexplicable ways. In case you are wondering what is Johnny’s role in the movie, well, he comes in later as a well-meaning ‘pirate’ and a romance between his and Binoche’s character ensues (of course).
One of the best parts about this film is that nearly every important character has its own separate, small arc that fits into the larger scheme of things in the most natural fashion. Be it Dame Judi Dench’s slightly cranky, but wise grandmother, the mayor Comte de Reynaud (Alfred Molina), or the troubled and abused Josephine (Lena Olin) — they each have a world of their own and the script deals with their problems ably.
Rachel Portman’s music is heavenly, and the movie doesn’t feel too long, thanks to the editing by Andrew Mondshein, who retains only the significant parts of director Lasse Hallström’s vision.
So if you are looking for a dash of magic, some light but meaningful cinema told in the style of a fairytale –look no further than the scrumptious Chocolat.
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