Chocolat - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Chocolat Reviews

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Super Reviewer
February 27, 2013
An evocative and beautifully shot period drama set in colonial Cameroon. The lethargic pacing and drawn out scenes make it a bit of a slog to sit through but there's no denying it's quiet power and that it has important points to make. Claire Denis went on to make the much better, similarly themed White Material.
March 7, 2011
What the hell was this? Seriously!? This was one of the most boring films I've seen in my life. It centers around an INCREDIBLY nuanced and understated "will they? won't they?" romantic crush that explores class difference. It really leads to nothing. I only know those plot details because of my class's discussion on the film. You could watch this movie 3 times and still have no idea what it's about. Seriously, this is dry filmmaking that can only be appreciated by patient viewers.
½ December 14, 2009
A very beautiful film with great cinematography, editing, mise-en-scene...but the slow pace and lack of real narrative development can be a bit stifling.
May 24, 2008
Little dialog and even less action: the way movies ought to be. The acting is marvelous. Subtle and penetrating look at conflicts in social roles (white/black, man/woman, master/slave). It's also not a bad thing that Isaach De Bankole is unbelievably gorgeous. He's beautiful like a statue, but also silent like one - therein lies the problem.
½ March 24, 2008
Wonderful movie - a bit slow in places. Great storyline. Enjoy the subtle undercurrent of passion between the main two characters; a forbidden love that should have been.
½ September 12, 2007
Almost the entire movie is told in flashback to some undefined colonial time in the deserts of Cameroon. Our Heroine, France, was a child then; her father was a regional governor. At a guess, it was the 1960s, just before independence. But we are not left to know.

Marc, France's father, really loves his job and strives to do his best. He does not see the natives as his equals, but I don't think he sees them as inferior as others do, either. At any rate, he goes about his job with determination and kindness, even though it means leaving his wife and child alone (in a houseful of servants) on a regular basis. He treats the locals with respect, of a sort, and does not impose much on them.

No new ground is really broken here. We are not exploring the politics of the time. We are not really exploring the details of these people's lives; our view is pretty superficial. But we do examine one brief glimpse of time--during Ramadan, it is mentioned a few times. We see young France and her deep affection for some of the servants; she bonds more with them than with the colonial visitors who put in varied appearances over the course of the film.

It's beautifully shot. The filmwork itself is well done, even if the story isn't the best I've seen. (Or even, let's be honest, the best I've seen of movies called [i]Chocolat[/i].) I don't even feel we get an adequate explanation of the title. But the actress who plays young France is pretty good, for an actress of her age, and most of the rest of the cast is even better.

I feel we may have one too many bits of people's lives in this story; there's a hint of locals' wishes to overthrow the colonial rule that doesn't go anywhere, and I'm also not sure we need the bit at the end with the story of the man who is giving adult France a ride. But it's a simple, almost soothing story, and it's worth watching if you happen to encounter it.
½ July 9, 2007
A woman returns to her childhood home in Cameroon. A French woman, her family was upper class and lived in luxury in a very poor country. As a child she wasn't close to her mother but instead was close to an African hired hand. The story, a very quiet one, focuses on the relationship between the family and the African. Members of the family try to get close to him in different ways and only find roadblocks. They can't understand the nationality differences between them that keeps him hesitant. Not just a film about their differences, but about the pain that Africans have to go through in modern times.
April 6, 2006
favorite part: the whole "point to a facial part and then i'll tell you the name in my weird language and make you giggle" thing. i liked it.

it took me a good hour to figure out that france was the younger girl.

sex, sex, sex, and more sex. yeah.
½ April 30, 2005
Well performed and written, with a subtle direction and nice touch. Yet, the film as a whole is rather bland, and never becomes anything more than a plain portrait of life in this African town.

C:rotten:
December 20, 2015
Nice cinematography..EXTREMELY BORING. Not suggested to watch.
July 31, 2013
The exquisitely shot slow moving French Film based heavily on the director's own experiences in Africa.

Strong characters in an simple but proactive film that allowed the characters personalities to add themselves to the canvas of the vast African Landscapes.

Although this film did travel rather slow it had many great scenes between the young girl & head black slave. It's a little bit dull in parts but it often has bouts of life.
Super Reviewer
February 27, 2013
An evocative and beautifully shot period drama set in colonial Cameroon. The lethargic pacing and drawn out scenes make it a bit of a slog to sit through but there's no denying it's quiet power and that it has important points to make. Claire Denis went on to make the much better, similarly themed White Material.
February 24, 2013
Johnny Depp as a gypsy! Hah!
November 11, 2012
A gorgeous film about a young girl growing up in Africa during the last days of French colonialism.
½ July 11, 2012
Slow, presumably to match the pace of life, but largely successful story of childhood and the colonial experience, emphasising the alien presence of the uncomprehending Europeans, a recurring theme in her later films.
March 7, 2011
What the hell was this? Seriously!? This was one of the most boring films I've seen in my life. It centers around an INCREDIBLY nuanced and understated "will they? won't they?" romantic crush that explores class difference. It really leads to nothing. I only know those plot details because of my class's discussion on the film. You could watch this movie 3 times and still have no idea what it's about. Seriously, this is dry filmmaking that can only be appreciated by patient viewers.
½ March 7, 2011
What the hell was this? Seriously!? This was one of the most boring films I've seen in my life. It centers around an INCREDIBLY nuanced and understated "will they? won't they?" romantic crush that explores class difference. It really leads to nothing. I only know those plot details because of my class's discussion on the film. You could watch this movie 3 times and still have no idea what it's about. Seriously, this is dry filmmaking that can only be appreciated by patient viewers.
February 13, 2011
Claire Denis' most accessible work is a terrific, albeit sometimes frustrating work. We first meet a young woman on a beach in Cameroon who decides to take a car ride when offered by a man and his son. While he thinks she is a tourist, she then reflects back on her time as a little girl in colonial Cameroon where her father had a post. She was good friends with their intelligent but quiet helper Protee. The girl's father is often occupied with various tasks while her mother seems rather neglected. A plane crash has several new white French visitors come to the house and offer their varying viewpoints about the many facets of Africa. All dialogue seem to be tidbits of a broader picture. Emotions are sensed rather than stated. Claire Denis rather successfully manages through meticulous camerawork to successfully convey meanings through these fragmented narratives. Although not much happens, the impacts of these moments is staggering. As per usual this Denis' film is beautiful to watch.
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