The film Chocolat, billed as a "comic fable," starring Juliette Binoche,
Judi Dench and Johnny Depp, was directed by Lasse Hallstrom, who
also directed The Cider House Rules. A feast for the eyes, the camera
lingers lovingly over trays of the delicious treats.
Chocolat tells the story of Vianne (Binoche), proprietor of the
Chocolaterie Maya, which is much more than just a chocolate shop.
Vianne is half-Mayan and is from a race of nomads who roam the world
dispensing chocolate like medicine, since her chocolate has magical
effects on love and other aspects of life.
However, she opens the shop in a small town across the street from the
church just as Lent is beginning, which sets her against the local
representatives of established Christianity. Led by the Comte (Alfred
Molina), the conservatives try to shut down the shop in the name of grim
The attitudes of the Comte and his group are far from the Bible's
teaching on pleasure. Jesus said of himself that "the Son of man came
eating and drinking, and they say, 'Behold a gluttonous man and a
winebibber'" (Matthew 11:19).
Biblical Christianity teaches us to be grateful to God for his many gifts
and our ability to enjoy them.
"For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is
received with thanksgiving" (I Timothy 4:4). If we refuse the good things
that God has provided, we are denying ourselves the pleasures he
intends for us and denying him the praise and thanksgiving he deserves.
Clockwise from top: Chocolat the novel; the film
poster; Binoche at Chocolaterie Maya; Lena
Olin, Binoche, and Depp in Chocolat