Now for the first time on Blu-ray. Lasse Hallstrom's Chocolat
was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actress (Juliet Binoche), and Best Supporting Actress (Judi Dench), Chocolat
is the beautiful and captivating comedy from the acclaimed director of 'The Cider House Rules'. Nobody could have imagined the impact that the striking Vianne (Binoche) would make when she arrived in a tranquil, old-fashioned French town. In her very unusual chocolate shop, Vianne begins to create mouth-watering confections that almost magically inspire the straight-laced villagers to abandon themselves to temptation and happiness. But it is not until another stranger, the handsome Roux (Johnny Depp), arrives in town that Vianne is finally able to recognise her own desires.
is an enchanting, moving and heart-warming tale of love and temptation, a big-budget movie with its roots in European art house cinema. Magical and almost fairytale-like in theme, it's the story of the mysterious Vianne and her arrival in a quiet, old-fashioned French town at the end of the 1950s. Gradually her attitude to life and the delicacies that she prepares in her chocolate shop have a marked effect on the local people, bound as they are by the twin forces of religion and politics.
Juliette Binoche is perfect in the role of the sensuous, captivating Vianne--a masterstroke of casting matched by the performance of Judi Dench as the splendidly grumpy but ultimately inspiring matriarch Armande. Very much an ensemble piece, the whole cast are indeed excellent, with Johnny Depp (making a fair fist of an Irish accent) superb as the drifter Roux, the one man capable of unlocking Vianne's own desires. From its majestic opening swoop to the final, joyous scene, Lasse Hallström's film, based on the bestselling novel, is nothing short of a masterpiece.
On the DVD: As befits such a film, the DVD is an elegant, well thought out package. The movie itself is a visual feast, a combination of a beautiful setting, rich, opulent colours and textures and a mystical atmosphere. There's a range of documentary features examining the style of the film and its background, as well as an audio commentary and some excellent scenes deleted from the final cut. More in-depth notes are to be found in the accompanying booklet and the whole thing adds up to one of the most satisfying DVD releases in a long time. In one of the accompanying documentaries, Depp wonders if it is possible to create art through cinema. It may be a difficult task, but Chocolat is proof that it can be done.--Phil Udell
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.