Robert Nelson Jacobs' Chocolat (Screenplay and Movie Adaptation)

ChocolatChocolat by Robert Nelson; Hallstrom, Lasse; Harris, Joanne Chocolat Jacobs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The movie adaptation is recommended to all those who are in love with a piece of Chocolate.

I never watched this movie, let alone Joanne Harris' novel where the flick is adapted. That is why my mind has the liberty to imagine the setting and to reflect on the script and to picture the characters to the story.

Chocolat is a 2000 romance film directed by Lasse Hallström, the guy behind Cider House Rules, Casanova and Hachiko. Adapted by screenwriter Robert Nelson Jacobs, Chocolat tells the story of a young mother named Vianne Rocher, who arrives with her young daughter Anouk in the French village of Lansquenet-sous-Tannes. Vianne, an expert chocolatier, arrived with her daughter in the middle of 1959 and opens La Chocolaterie Maya - a chocolate store - just in time for the Lent. Residents and their mayor Comte Paul de Reynaud stictly adheres to the tradition, thus thought that the opening of the store as a radical move. Added with the odd Mayan urns, statues, and not going to church, she is implied to be a witch travelling from one place to another, obeying to the orders of the Northern Wind.

At the start of the story people thought of her as an unusual but as the day passes she has gained some loyal customers to the chocolate store. One of the first to fall under the spell of Vianne and her confections is Armande, her elderly, eccentric landlady. Armande laments that her cold, devoutly-pious daughter Caroline will not let her see her grandson Luc because she is a "bad influence". Thanks to the store - Luc and his grandmother formed a friendship and an inseparable bond. Josephine, who is being abused by her alcoholic husband Serge, becomes her helper. Roux, a gypsy who arrived and camped on the outskirts of the village, became Vianne's friend and lover (in the end). Reynaud, considering the arrival of these characters as a source of breaking the tradition, is willing to do whatever it takes to get them out of town, telling the message that they are not welcome by sending out pamphlets of BOYCOTT IMMORTALITY.

I am happy to read this book / screenplay just in time for our Lent. Set with the same season, it is for the reader to reflect that while there are traditions embedded in our society in contemplating for the hardships of our God, this composition helped us to see the humanity of it. We do not eat meat, we fast, we pray religiously - but what of all this if we cannot maintain our promise to our heavenly father? We are to be true of ourselves, and our God knows that we are human - we have the freewill and the potential to influence ourselves and others.


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