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In a small old-fashioned French town, single-mother Vianne (Juliette Binoche) arrives with her six-year-old daughter, and opens up a chocolate shop. Vianne creates some mouth-watering sweets which inspire the usually dull villagers to indulge their temptations and experience some true happiness. But it is only when handsome stranger Roux (Johnny Depp) arrives in the village that Vianne begins to recognise her own desires. Judi Dench won best supporting actress Oscar for her portrayal of Armande Voisin, the freethinking landlady.
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 Udell --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
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 DVD transfer shows off the deep rich textures of the chocolate and the town to perfection, and enhances the musical score, which is almost a character in itself. The extra material is welcome, though a little lightweight - the commentary by director and producers is informative, although a few members of the cast would have enhanced it. The deleted scenes looked very interesting, but the sound on them was unfortunately inaudible. The documentary was the usual entertaining fluff. I would still recommend the DVD over the video, though, if only for the perfect picture and sound.
It's interesting that all the Brits reviewing the film on Amazon.co.uk praise it for it's eccentricities and fantasy, whereas all the americans on Amazon.com damn it for being unrealistic and manipulative. A film for dreamers, not cynics, perhaps?...
Meanwhile, Vianne finally warms up and disarms her crotchety landlady, jumpstarts a tired marriage for two villagers, and befriends a battered woman, played with appropriate pathos, delicacy, and spirit by Lena Olin. She also manages a flirtation with an Irish drifter named Roux, well played by Johnny Depp, though they seem to lack chemistry together.Read more ›
The casting was perfect, especially the wonderful Judi Dench who is always a joy to watch in any part. Johnny Depp's Irish tinker confused me a little though, is there any reason for him not being a french gypsy?!
As for the chocolates, they are stars of the show in their own right! Even the least sweet tooth would have to be tempted!!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great dvd I have wanted for some time. Delivery spot on, and at the right price.Published 3 months ago by Neil Wragg