Length: 121 minutes / 2.02 hours
Chocolat (2000) is one of those movies that I was aware of but hadn’t watched until recently. While it received a Best Picture nomination, I don’t think it was up to the level of the winner for that year, Gladiator (2000). Nevertheless, Chocolat is a charming story that lies somewhere between Footloose (1984), Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971), and Babette’s Feast (1987). What’s maybe a little odd to me about this movie is how I thought Johnny Depp would have a more prominent role in it, since he covers almost half the movie poster. Instead, it’s more a bit part that comes in about half-way through the film.
While the conclusion of Chocolat is practically telegraphed from the start, it was still entertaining to watch the townspeople warm to the newly arrived chocolatier. Despite most of the characters might feeling a little one-dimensional, they are so fully fleshed out in the one or two qualities that make them distinguishable that you can’t help but enjoy watching them react precisely the way you expect them to. Perhaps this predictability helped me appreciate this film since I didn’t have to spend too much effort trying to figure out what was happening.
Of particular note, I have to say that Alfred Molina and Judy Dench were perhaps some of my favorite characters in this film overall. They were practically two different ends of the spectrum when it came to the chocolate shop, but their performances rather balanced each other out in their own entertaining ways. If I were to choose a favorite, it would definitely be Molina’s Comte de Reynaud. Even if his portrayal of religion-based Christianity (instead of relationship-based Christianity) was a bit of a stereotype when movies need a villain who opposes anything “fun.”
A charming, if not wholly predictable movie, I give Chocolat 4.0 stars out of 5.