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Chocolat (2000)
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Review Date: December 26, 2000
Director: Lasse Hallstrom
Writer: Robert Nelson Jacobs
Producers: D. Brown, K. Golden, L. Holleran
Actors:
Juliette Binoche
Judi Dench
Alfred Molina
Plot:
A mystery woman and her daughter enter a "tranquil" town and open their own chocolatterie (chocolate shop). Soon enough, the puritan locals fall in love with her confections but not without much backlash from the town's mayor, who considers her to be a troublemaker.
Critique:
An interesting, uneven, if entirely predictable fairy-tale comedy featuring some solid acting all around and a cute story which needlessly sticks around way past its final course. I enjoyed this movie for the most part. It was light, fluffy, romantic, funny and it played out very well in the little village in which it was set up. The intros were well done, the characters sharpened by the experienced actors and the set-up, despite feeling quite deja-vu for me, interesting enough to keep my eyes wide awake. Unfortunately, the movie just didn't seem to know where to stop. It went on and on and on and on and on. Near the end, it just started feeling like it was never gonna stop. With its purposely magical feel, I expected a cutesy story, some romantic and funny moments, which I received, and a quick and easy ending. But the filmmakers seemed to veer off course about 2/3 of the way in. That's about the time Johnny Depp entered the picture for the first time, a man who looks great in just about anything that he does, and suddenly the film took on a "darker" tone. Things got ugly, death entered the picture and the film suddenly became...dare I say, realistic! Of course, realism is fine in most films but with the whole mythical amusing feel of the movie up until that point, the ending just seemed out of place. It was like the director wanted to create a fun-loving movie, and get us all emotional as well. For me, it didn't work.

But the whole movie wasn't an entire waste. In fact, not at all. The actors were all great, especially Alfred Molina, who by all counts, should be the one and only choice to redo the part of Inspector Clouseau in any future PINK PANTHER movies. A great character actor, always! Binoche was good as well, with enough range to make her character real and believable, and Carrie Anne-Moss, great move by you and your agent! I barely recognized her out of those black leather pants...good show! Sadly, Johnny Depp was woefully underused. This was even more disappointing to me because 1) I love the man...uuuh, the actor, that is...harumph and 2) Uhhhm, his face is plastered all over the poster! He might draw people into theatres, but many will leave disappointed once they acknowledge his grand absence. Anyway, his character was also very underdeveloped, and I wish we could have had more time with him, instead of some of the more serious moments near the end of this film. In the end, the movie was simple enough for me to enjoy for the most part, thanks to all of the interesting actors in the film and the cute premise, but it truly does outlast its stay and doesn't really have all that much to say when you think about it afterwards. Oh yeah and did I mention that Johnny Depp is one great looking man? Me go eat some chocolate now...
(c) 2017 Berge Garabedian
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