Chocolat (2000 film)

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For the 1988 French drama, see Chocolat (1988 film).
Chocolat
Chocolat sheet.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Lasse Hallström
Produced by Harvey Weinstein
Bob Weinstein
Screenplay by Robert Nelson Jacobs
Based on Chocolat 
by Joanne Harris
Starring Juliette Binoche
Johnny Depp
Judi Dench
Alfred Molina
Carrie-Anne Moss
Lena Olin
Music by Rachel Portman
Distributed by Miramax Films
Release date(s)
  • December 15, 2000 (2000-12-15)
Running time 121 minutes
Country United Kingdom
United States
Language English
French
Budget $25 million
Box office $152,699,946

Chocolat (French pronunciation: ​[ʃɔkɔla]) is a 2000 American-British drama film based on the novel of the same name by Joanne Harris, and was directed by Lasse Hallström. Adapted by screenwriter Robert Nelson Jacobs, Chocolat tells the story of a young mother, played by Juliette Binoche, who arrives at the fictional, repressed French village of Lansquenet-sous-Tannes with her six-year-old daughter and opens La Chocolaterie Maya, a small chocolaterie. Her chocolate quickly begins to change the lives of the townspeople.

The film was shot in the village of Flavigny-sur-Ozerain[1] in Burgundy, France, and on the Rue De L'ancienne Poste in Beynac-et-Cazenac on the Dordogne River in Dordogne, France. The river scenes were filmed at Fonthill Lake at Fonthill Bishop in Wiltshire, England and interior scenes at Shepperton Studios, Surrey, England.

The film was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture. It was also nominated for eight BAFTAs, and four Golden Globes. Judi Dench won a Screen Actors Guild Award for her performance in the film.

Plot[edit]

Vianne Rocher (Juliette Binoche), an expert chocolatier, drifts across Europe with her daughter Anouk (Victoire Thivisol). In the winter of 1959, they travel to a quiet French village that closely adheres to tradition, as led by the village mayor, Comte (Count) Paul de Reynaud (Alfred Molina). Just as the villagers begin observing the forty days of Lent, Vianne opens a chocolate shop, much to the displeasure of Count Reynaud. Vianne wears more provocative clothing than the village women, does not go to church, and has an illegitimate child; she does not fit in well with the townspeople, but is nevertheless optimistic about her business. Her friendly and alluring nature begins to win the villagers over one by one, causing Reynaud to openly speak against her for tempting the people during a time of abstinence and self-denial.

One of the first to fall under the spell of Vianne and her confections is Armande (Judi Dench), her elderly, eccentric landlady. Armande is unhappy that her cold, devoutly pious daughter Caroline (Carrie-Anne Moss) will not let Armande see her grandson Luc because Caroline thinks Armande is a "bad influence". Vianne arranges for Luc and his grandmother to see each other in the chocolaterie, where they develop a close bond. Caroline later reveals to Vianne that her mother is a diabetic, though Armande continues to eat the chocolate despite her condition.

Vianne also develops a friendship with a troubled woman, Josephine (Lena Olin), who is a victim of brutal beatings by her alcoholic husband Serge (Peter Stormare). After a particularly violent blow to the head, Josephine leaves her husband and moves in with Vianne and Anouk. As she begins to work at the chocolat shop and Vianne teaches her her craft, Josephine becomes a self-confident, changed woman. Under the instruction of Reynaud, Serge seemingly changes into a better man and he asks Josephine to come back to him. Finally happy and fulfilled on her own, Josephine declines her husband's request. A drunken Serge breaks into the chocolaterie later that night and attempts to attack both women, before Josephine, in a moment of empowerment, knocks him out with a skillet.

As the rivalry between Vianne and Reynaud intensifies, a band of river gypsies camp out on the outskirts of the village. While most of the town objects to their presence, Vianne embraces them, developing a mutual attraction to the gypsy Roux (Johnny Depp). Together they hold a birthday party for Armande with other village members and gypsies on Roux's boat. When Caroline sees Luc, who snuck out to go to the party, dancing with her mother Armande, she begins to see how strict she has been with her son and that his grandmother's influence in his life may not be a bad thing.

After the party, Vianne, Josephine, and Anouk all sleep on the boats, where Roux and Vianne make love. Late that night, Serge sets the boat on fire where Josephine and Anouk are sleeping. Both escape unharmed, but Vianne's faith in the village is shaken. Also that night, Luc returns to his grandmother's living room to see that she has succumbed to the complications of her diabetes, devastating both him and his mother. After the fire, Roux packs up and leaves with his group, much to Vianne's sadness.

Deciding she cannot win against Reynaud or the strict traditions of the town, Vianne resolves to move to another place. Just before she does so, she goes into her kitchen to see a group of townspeople who have come to love her and the way she has changed their lives, making chocolate for a festival Vianne had planned on Easter Sunday. Realizing that she has brought change to the town, she decides to stay.

Despite the shifting sentiment in the town, Reynaud remains staunch in his abstinence from pleasures such as chocolate. On the Saturday evening before Easter, convinced that chocolate is something that will make people stray from their faith in God, he sneaks into Vianne's house with the idea that he will ruin all of Vianne's preparations for the Easter festival. Instead, after accidentally tasting a dabble of chocolate that fell on his lips, he finally gives in to the temptation and devours the chocolate before collapsing into tears and eventually falling asleep. The next day, Vianne promises not to reveal what happened, and a mutual respect between them is established. Roux returns in the summer to be with her, and despite her constant need for change, Vianne resolves to stay, having found a home for herself and her daughter in the village.

Cast[edit]

Reception[edit]

Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 63% of critics gave the film a positive review, with the site consensus stating that "Chocolat is a charmingly light-hearted fable with a lovely performance by Binoche".[2]

The film grossed some US$152,699,946 worldwide, on a production budget of US$25 million.[3]

The film was nominated for many awards, including 5 Academy Awards including Best Picture. Among significant awards won for work on this picture were the Art Directors Guild award, 2001, for Excellence in Production Design, the Bogey Award given by the German journal "Blickpunkt: Film", based on audience numbers in a certain time, the Audience Award, 2001, of the European Film Awards, for Juliette Binoche, and the Screen Actors Guild award 2001, to Judi Dench for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role. The film also attracted numerous BAFTA nominations and Rachel Portman's score was nominated for a Grammy Award.

Awards[edit]

Won
Nominated

Soundtrack[edit]

Chocolat
Soundtrack album by Rachel Portman
Released 2000 (2000)
Genre Film soundtrack
Label Sony Classical

The soundtrack was nominated for the Academy Award, the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score and the Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack Album For A Motion Picture, Television Or Other Visual Media.

All songs written by Rachel Portman, except where noted.[4]

  1. "Minor Swing" (Django Reinhardt/Stéphane Grappelli) – 2:13
  2. "Main Titles" – 3:07
  3. "The Story of Grandmere" – 4:08
  4. "Vianne Sets Up Shop" – 1:57
  5. "Three Women" – 1:01
  6. "Vianne Confronts the Comte" – 1:21
  7. "Other Possibilities" – 1:34
  8. "Guillaume's Confession" – 1:29
  9. "Passage of Time" – 2:32
  10. "Boycott Immorality" – 4:38
  11. "Party Preparations" – 1:28
  12. "Chocolate Sauce" – 0:48
  13. "Fire" – 2:37
  14. "Vianne Gazes at the River" – 1:06
  15. "Mayan Bowl Breaks" – 2:14
  16. "Taste of Chocolate" – 3:08
  17. "Ashes to the Wind / Roux Returns" – 2:18
  18. "Caravan" (Duke Ellington/Juan Tizol)– 3:43

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]