Chocolat, starring Juliette Binoche, Josh Densh, etc. ★
Chocolat is a marvelous, cute little movie that won 5 academy award nominations, which my wife watched many years ago, and suggested that it was a nice girlie type movie extolling the beauty of chocolate in transforming an innocent little French town from a prejudiced, unhappy villa to a place of joy and happiness. Right? Wrong! The movie is quite innocent, but really has little to do about chocolate. Instead, the entire theme of the movie is that Christian ethics and morality are oppressive and joyless, and by abandoning those morals, one can find peace, love, joy, and contentment. The true movie title should have been called “Immorality”. The movie is in many respects “clean”. There is minimal blatant sex, drunkenness, bad words, and the only violence is performed by town Christians in seeking to drive out a poor helpless woman and her daughter from the town for corrupting the village morals. This makes is easy to accept without realizing the fundamental theme is rotten to the core, and the entire movie based on impossible fictions.
Vianne Rocher and her daughter Anouk drift across Europe in the years after WWII. They arrive in a quaint French villa, where she sets up a chocolaterie. It happens to be that the town is staunchly Catholic, and that she arrives at the beginning of the Lenten season. She finds it challenging to establish a clientele for the business, save for a few troubled souls of the town who have already cast off their Christian faith. The town mayor and new priest insist that the Lenten season be abided by, making it all the more challenging for her to establish her business, and she is branded as immoral since she is a professing, avowed atheist free to share her deviant faith with those who would listen. The town is then visited by some river “rats”, gypsies that float the river, selling goods along the way, and generally having fun as they go. These river people are also rejected by the town, owing to their loose morals. Tragedy strikes when the town drunk burns down their floating city. Ultimately, Vianne decides to leave town on the day of easter sensing that the town is too “intolerant” for her good. The evening before, the mayor breaks into the shop to destroy a nude female made of chocolate, gets a taste of the chocolate, and is immediately addicted. The easter morning service is suddenly transformed into a lesson on tolerance, the village takes to liking for chocolate and dancing in the streets, and suddenly the village goes from doom and gloom to one of joy and gladness, accepting their new religion of atheism and amorality.
This movie is wrong in so many ways. First, it is economically a total fantasy. The movie shows the river rats living a rather sumptuous lifestyle, and yet never working to earn that lifestyle. Were they actually thieves? It shows Vianne coming to town with nothing but an illegitimate daughter and a few handbags at the start of Lent, setting up a very elaborate chocolaterie, making chocolate, baked goods and drinks in excess every day, and yet having only a few buyers. Vianne would give away multiple free samples, and also throw parties, such as a grand feast with lobster and turkey and all kinds of treats, yet never had a successful business as of yet to support that. Perhaps she was independently wealthy, but more likely than not, the author was completely clueless to the simplest matters of economics.
Secondly, the movie is wrong in trying to be so politically correct. It is politically correct to insult the prevailing western Christian morality and religious practice. Such a movie, if made in an even stricter moral context such as in a Muslim country during Ramadan, would be identified as blasphemous. I guess it is okay to rip apart the Christian faith but not Mohammedism. The final sermon offered in the village church on Easter morning was a sermon on tolerance. In one swift hour, the village is transformed from faith to paganism, from defined morality to undefined lust. It is so politically correct it makes me feel like vomiting.
Thirdly and most importantly, the movie (and book which the movie is based on) creates straw men. Nobody in the movie have real living personalities. To win an argument, contemporary liberalism uses the sly tactic of role reversal. Hitler, Stalin, and Mao become the kind, loving, benevolent leaders. Mother Teresa becomes a crotchety old moralistic witch (note that mother Teresa would not be personally attacked, but that the church which bred her is brutally and usually unrealistically attacked). In this movie, the Catholics of the town are intolerant, unloving, joyless brutes. In reality, I have never seen such a village. The personalities are entirely fictional, with the Compte (the mayor) living as widower (or divorcee, the book/movie never makes that clear but implies that NOBODY would live with such a wrench). Reality is that the Christian faith brought joy and peace to the warring barbarians of Europe. It is the Christian faith, as compared to atheists/agnostics who have a much lower divorce and separation rate. It is the Christian faith which developed the interest in the world, including art, music, and cooking which Vianne now tries to market. The movie has Vianne painted as the only loving, caring person in the town, willing to reach out to the provincial village with self sacrifice. Actually, Vianne was intolerant to the conventions of the village, even refusing to occasionally set foot in a church or acknowledge some of the fundamental traditions of religious life in the village. The entire theme is that the village must adapt to her, no give or take, and no adaptation on her part. Also, has one ever stumbled across a loving, sacrificing atheist? This movie has no realistic personalities, and it is straw men created to form the fictional intentions of the book author.
Sadly, the movie is more destructive than meets the eye. Many will watch the movie as the joyful transformation of a town through the mediacy of chocolate. In reality, it is a town that goes overnight from Christianity to atheism. I would have appreciated the movie far more had it presented itself with entire fantasy, such as with fairies or magical spells. It would have then been more obvious as the fantasy that it is. But, that is so typical of the Hollywood elites, as they live in a fantasy world but wish the world to believe that they are presenting reality. If you haven’t seen this film before, please don’t waste your time.
Chocolat, starring Juliette Binoche, Josh Densh, etc. ★