Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5.
United Kingdom/USA, 2000. Miramax, David Brown Productions. Screenplay by based on the novel by Cinematography by Produced by David Brown, Kit Golden, Leslie Holleran. Music by Rachel Portman. Production Design by David Gropman. Costume Design by Renee Ehrlich Kalfus. Film Editing by Andrew Mondshein. Academy Awards 2000. Golden Globe Awards 2000.
What threatens to be a predictable, half-baked Miramax experience turns out to be a delightful surprise as enjoyable as its titular treat. Juliette Binoche is so beautiful it’s a crime as the mysterious woman who moves to a tiny conservative town in France with her daughter (Victoire Thivisol of Ponette) to open a chocolaterie, using recipes taken from her Mayan ancestry. The residents of the town react with fear to this woman who preaches pleasure as a way of life, but soon warm up to her. Director Lasse Hallstrom uses the story’s familiarity to his advantage as the story progresses, continually dazzling you with an infectious charm that reaches everywhere the film goes. All the performances are first-rate, and Rachel Portman’s score lends her usual soul-lifting flair.