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Chocolat [DVD] 
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DVD Special Features
Subtitles: English/English for the hearing impaired
Languages: Dolby Digital 5.1: English
The making of Chocolat
The costumes of Chocolat
Production Design featurette
Chocolat 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 UdellSee all Product description
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What happens next is a journey the whole village is taken on, as they each in turn embrace or struggle with change. With actors including Johnny Depp, Juliet Binoche and Judi Dench, this film cannot disappoint. The narration makes it sounds almost fairytale-esque, adding to the magic of this beautiful story.
I recommend it to chocolate lovers, vintage-era lovers, Johnny Depp fans, and absolutely anyone who enjoys a good story told through film. It is slightly risque in parts, so I think the 12 rating is appropriate, but is certainly suitable for teenagers.
A lovely, heartwarming film - enjoy with a cup of cocoa and chocolate biscuit!
The director, Lasse Hallström, is quite bold in his interpretation of the source book, but provided that one can accept the changes then his vision and the performances he elicits from his chosen cast are about as good as they get. Singling out individual performances would be unfair, the principals being uniformly excellent, and with first class help from a pretty star-studded group of supporting minor characters.
Not as dark as the original but no worse for that, just a different tale.
Is "Try to be a bit nicer" profound enough to be deemed a Message? It is what I imagine many will take away from this, Message or not. For a simple 2 hours of lightish entertainment suitable for all but the youngest viewer this has much to commend it.
What I would take issue with is the sound-track. I think, that as usual with films on DVD, the management of sound quality/level does not bear comparison with a typical British TV soap episode. Is that simply because the industry has gradually moved up the use of 'body-mikes' ? However, I really recommend the film, now a classic I think. Put out the lights, snuggle up with a cup of hot sweet cocoa, and enjoy !
Having read the book beforehand, I was a bit disappointed that in the film, the protaganist was the mayor and not the vicar as in the book. The vicar character in the book is not derided or humiliated as the vicar is in the film, and in the book is a much stronger character and somehow more sensible righteous opponent for Vianne's unmarried and controversial personality. Saying that, the film still works OK with the mayor as the foe to Vianne's carefree approach to life.
On the whole though, the film captures the mysterious air of Vianne and her child, Anouk, a pair of drifters on the move where the wind takes them. A thoroughly dreamlike and atmospheric film.
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