Temptation were never as sweet. Or as interesting as in Lasse Hallstrom's Chocolat.
And with the social message that Chocolat comes packaged with, the film is a wonderful Christmas treat.
The film begins as the winds bring with them Vianne Rocher (Juliette Binoche), a happy wanderer and her daughter, Anouk (Victoire Thivisol) to the tiny French town of Lansquenet. This rules in this serene hamlet, however, are predominantly dictated by the church and the town's mayor, Comte de Reynaud (Alfred Molina).
Vianne sets up her chocolate shop, right opposite the town church, much against the wishes of the mayor. It is the liturgical season of Lent, you see, a period of fast and abstinence and the Revnaud is afraid that the Vianne, the devil in disguise, will tempt the God-fearing churchgoers and lead them into sin. He's convinced that Vianne's sumptuous chocolates will undermine the strict code of morality in the village. He threatens to put her our of business by Easter and influences the people against her.
But Vianne's charms, her uncanny ability of guessing a person's favourite chocolate and the mouth-watering confections win over the most unreceptive of the town's folk.
Her irresistible concoctions awaken people's hidden appetites and desires, and they lose themselves in chocolate heaven. Armande (Judi Dench), a 70-year-old cranky woman is won over by hot chocolate and Josephine Muscat (Lena Olin), a clumsy thief by rose prims.
She also meets a riverboat traveller Roux (Johnny Depp) who awakens Vianne's own secret desire to belong somewhere.
Eventually, she wins over the Mayor and Easter brings with joy and roaring business.
The simple storyline is well supported by brilliant performances. Juliette Binoche as the sweet lovable lady, who is out to help everyone, but herself is perfectly cast. Johnny Depp, with a rather small role, does well, especially at the film's climax.
Judi Dench, Alfred Molina and Lena Olin are all very natural and convincing.
If you are a chocoholic, you simply can't miss this.