MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +2

Content: -2

In 1950, a mysterious woman and her young daughter blow into a small French village. Walking her own path in life, Vianne Rocher (Juliette Binoche) quickly opens an exotic chocolate shop near the town square. Along with the strange tribal dcor in the store, she uses many unusual and unknown recipes for her chocolate treats. Some delicacies arouse the passions and Vianne has a knack for guessing someones favorite kind of chocolate. But the towns mayor, Comte de Reynaud (Alfred Molina), sees Vianne and her shop as a danger to the simple Christian faith of his people. Since she sets up shop just before the Lenten season, he sees Vianne as leading the people into temptation, so he looks to shut down her business in any way he can. Will his plan work or will the chocolate shop cause an awakening never before seen in this tiny village? Unfolding like a fairytale, CHOCOLAT, while generally light and comedic, turns out to have a serious message. However, this tempting, semi-sweet tale may not satisfy large general audiences.

Unfortunately, the serious message seems to trivialize the role of the church in the lives of the village residents as it encourages yielding to harmless temptations. And coming from director Lasse Hallstrm (of THE CIDER HOUSE RULES fame), one should not be surprised. While the Church, in this case Catholic, as an institution is certainly not perfect, CHOCOLAT takes its portrayal to an extreme that is clearly biased. Making church rituals and morals look hokey and hypocritical, the film takes every opportunity to undermine its authority in peoples lives. Surprising for a PG-13 film, at least one brief sex scene includes a glimpse of breast nudity, while two other scenes imply the act without nudity. The dialogue includes some crude language and a few profanities. But with a negative and unfair presentation of religious beliefs and guidance, readers of Preview should resist the temptation to see CHOCOLAT.

Preview Reviewer: John Adair
Miramax Films, 375 Greenwich, New York, NY 10013

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Several (8) times Mild 4, Moderate 4

Obscene Language: Once (other)

Profanity: Few (3) times Regular 2 (J 1, For G Sake 1); Exclamatory 1 (OG)

Violence: Few times Moderate (drawing of man being stabbed, woman thrown down and choked, man hit on head)

Sex: Few times Brief graphic and Implied (one scene includes breast nudity, couple dressing, implied after brief sensual kissing)

Nudity: Once (brief breast in sex scene); Near Nudity - Once (cleavage emphasized)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Few times (man expresses desire to have sex, sensual kissing)

Drugs: Few times (alcohol, cigarette smoking

Other: Overall theme about giving into harmless temptation despite religious beliefs; Roman Catholic Church portrayed negatively made to look hokey and hypocritical; religious people and leaders take part in festival to pagan deity

Running Time: 105 minutes
Intended Audience: Older teens and adults

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