A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What 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.
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What's the story?
CHOCOLAT 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?
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the messages of Chocolat. 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 soufflé together.
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