Thursday, 27 May 2010

A Miramax Films Release, Part 1: Chocolat

Let me explain. Wednesday, the 26th of May saw a vast amount of money being transferred into my bank account - something which most people call 'payday', but i like to call a simple, but extravagant, treat. Therefore, i, once again, succumbed to my insatiable urge of buying DVDs, buying three titles included in the "A Miramax Films Release: The Collection". Over the next coming days, i will be submitting my own, albeit short, reviews of these three titles.

Oscar nominated director Lasse Hallstrom brought us the mouth-wateringly pleasing romantic drama
Chocolat in 2000.

Accompanied by a forceful wind, the mysterious Vianne (Juliette Binoche) and her daughter Anouk (Victoire Thivisol) pull-up in a quaint, old-fashioned French town. Renting out the abandoned patisserie and the flat above, they cause controversy within the town folk, spreading gossip faster than a bad rash - which isn't helped by the obnoxious Mayor, Comte de Reynaud (Alfred Molina). Diligently attempting to make friends with certain members of the town, Vianne fits in unsteadily, but surely makes a lasting impact with her choice of business; a chocolatier. Astounding the towns folk with her luscious chocolates, Vianne must deal with Comte de Reynaud, disapproving villagers, a visit to the town by 'water rats', all-the-while keeping her business afloat.

Compassionate director Hallstrom is no newcomer to drama. The Oscar-nominated The Cidar House Rules certifies that, and last year's Hachi: A Dog's Tale further extends the proof that he can handle a storyline infused greatly with heart. While not as heartfelt as it could have been,
Chocolat remains to be one of his best films.

Juliette Binoch carries the film beautifully. With elegance and poise, her character blossoms throughout the film from an instantly likable to a flawed, but relatable woman as we uncover more of the character's inability to stick her feet firmly to the ground, allowing a stable life for her and her daughter in a town where they feel both welcome and at home.

The varied cast of brilliantly acted characters all aid in how triumphant the film is, from Lena Olin's insecure housewife to Alfred Molina's dastardly, conniving Mayor - playing, undoubtedly, the part of the film's villain. Of course, the film would be unfinished without a potential love interest for Binoche's character, and that comes in the form of the upsettingly handsome Johnny Depp as Roux, the captain upon the vessels holding, as the town folk like to call, copious amounts of 'water rats'.

The chemistry between Binoche and Depp transcends well on-screen, but isn't as flawless as her chemistry with her on-screen daughter Thivosol. Unexpectedly unhappy with her mother's constant traveling, the relationship between the two provides enough poignancy to fulfill the crack which is left unfilled by the rest of the characters.

The entire experience of Chocolat leaves a lasting impression. The delicate, rich writing, to the whimsical characters are all so wonderfully enjoyable and emphasise the almost fairytale-like storyline (our main characters are swept in with an uncontrollable wind?). An unusually quirky, sumptuous and profoundly moving tale of a familiar story - which contains enough gorgeously-looking chocolates to work as porn for every chocolate lover out there!


Look out for A Miramax Films Release, Part 2 soon!

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