Chocolat

 
(i)

 

Fabulous French fairy tale and romance for teens and up.
  • Review Date: May 2, 2003
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2000
  • Running Time: 121 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The film centers on the idea that life should be enjoyed and lived to the fullest, even if this sometimes means going against long-standing cultural, political, and/or religious traditions. Tensions with this philosophy and the Catholic church is a major theme here.

Positive role models

Villagers are often narrow-minded and judgmental towards those who are different. There are several strained relationships, including a mother and daughter, and husbands and wives.

Violence

Children are shown fighting on the playground. Domestic disputes result in brief violent scenes showing an attempted strangulation and someone being hit in the head with a pot. A bloody and bruised head wound is visible. There is a major fire, but no one is seriously hurt.

Sex

Some sexual content, including images of people kissing, buttoning up their shirts, and a brief scene in which a couple is shown in bed undressed from the waist up (but no private parts are shown). Pre-marital sex and child illegitimacy is referenced

Language

Some villagers occasionally use words like "damn," "hell," and "piss."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Wine is served at a few meals; hard liquor, beer, and cognac consumed at bars and cafes. Cigarette and cigar smoking is sometimes visible. Drunken behavior sometimes leads to violent events.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Chocolat contains positive messages about acceptance, living life to the fullest, and love. It also contains some sexual content (including a quick glimpse of partial buttocks) and discussions of illegitimacy. Domestic violence is a theme, and there are images of a physical attack, a bloody wound, and a frightening fire. A character dies peacefully. There are some occasional salty words ("hell," "damn," "piss"), and drinking (wine, spirits) is visible.

What's the story?

This choice little fairy tale takes place in rural France, in an isolated village overseen by the Comte de Reynaud (Alfred Molina), who makes sure everyone keeps to the straight and (very) narrow. Enter mysterious, red-cloaked Vianne (Juliette Binoche) and her daughter Anouk (Victoire Thivisol), who boldly open up a chocolate shop during Lent. Aghast, the Comte tries to keep customers away. But Vianne always seems to know just what people need, giving everyone the kind of chocolate they can't resist and improving the lives of her grumpy landlord Armande (Judi Dench), and the troubled Josephine (Lena Olin). When a group of itinerants dock their houseboats in town, Vianne befriends Roux (Johnny Depp), which proves too much for the Compte and his sidekick, Josephine's husband Serge. Both the Compte and Vianne have to confront near disaster and their own fears, and the village's young priest must find a way to become a true spiritual leader for the community.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

This whimsical little story is as delicious as its chocolates, with a terrific score and lots of great issues for family discussion.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the messages of the movie. Who is happy in this movie and who is not? What do you think the movie's message is about happiness? What else are the filmmakers trying to express?

  • What do you think about the priest's conclusion that we are judged by what we do and those we embrace rather than by what we stay away from and those we exclude?

  • Families might also want to talk about what some of the names mean in English. For example, reynaud means fox and roux is the base that holds a soufflĂ© together.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 15, 2000
DVD release date:August 7, 2001
Cast:Alfred Molina, Johnny Depp, Juliette Binoche
Director:Lasse Hallstrom
Studio:Miramax
Genre:Drama
Run time:121 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:a scene of sensuality and some violence

This review of Chocolat was written by

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 16 years old Written byskysurfer14 April 9, 2008
 

very dramatic

im in french 2 and every year we watch it..... awesome movie!!! cant wait till we watch it again!!
Teen, 14 years old Written bycheese-process December 16, 2010
 

I was surprised.

I'm a guy who doesn't go for these kinds of movies. Let's put it this way...my mom talked me into seeing it. I told her I would rather watch something else, but then she made me feel guilty for saying no...so there I was, watching this movie...this really great movie! I was surprised at how well the plot was put together, and how all the little details fit. It gave a positive message, and I liked all the characters. The sex scene was brief, but the nudity should have been listed on the rating. Warning: there were a few pelvic thrusts. But it didn't last for more than 10 seconds. Because of the picture on the DVD box, I expected it to be a romance, but it really wasn't. If you're a guy like me who would rather watch movies with guns and blood, try watching this movie, just to be different. It's much better than you would think.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 14 years old Written bypotterpal21 March 1, 2011
 

Everyone of a certain age should see

My parents are on the more strict side, but since they loved the movie the first time I saw it my eyes were covered for a few parts. However, when I saw it recently, it wasn't bad sexually or whatever. The violence is a little scary, but nothing too bad. SUCH A GOOD MOVIE. Deffenitly worth seeing. Great movie with lots of amazing acting!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex

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