I’m known for being an unrepentant chocoholic. That reason alone is enough for me to see a movie where this confection is a central point of the story. But Chocolat is not just about that, or about the gift of indulgence.
The theme of this film is about daring to challenge old habits and rituals, especially when they have become ends in themselves. Even the heroine Vianne, who had entered the town and stirred things up with her preternatural confections and free-spirited ways, is challenged to abandon the family ritual of wandering wherever the wind seems to call her – and to make a new home for herself and her daughter.
It is often said that “traditions are answers to questions long forgotten.” The story and the characters in Chocolat remind us anew what those questions are, and call on us to find different ways to answer them. This film also gives a vision of community that goes beyond the strictures of tradition, created out of love and pleasure and imagination ... a vision articulated so well in the homily given at the end by the village's young priest:
I think it would make a great Saturday at any UU congregation to make chocolate treats in the kitchen, then enjoy them while watching this film. Bon appetite, mes amis!