“Chocolat” is a delightful movie set in “a quiet little village whose people believed in tranquility. If you lived in this village you understood what was expected of you and you knew your place in the scheme of things and if you happened to forget, someone would remind you.” These are the opening lines of this film. One immediately gets the impression that, while it is a quiet and tranquil village, it was because people either did what they were told or did not tell what they did.
“The village held fast to their tradition, until one winter day a sly wind blew in from the north.” In enters a mother and her daughter, who live a gypsy-like lifestyle. Vien, a strong talented woman, moves into the town with her daughter, Anook. Her desire is to open up a chocolaterie, that features everything in chocolate you can imagine. When she had her ‘chocolaterie’ up and running, people would come in and she would look at them and then suggest what they would like best in chocolates. Suggestions to awaken the passion in a person. Her chocolate recipes were derived from her father, who discovered ancient remedies using special cocoa recipes. One day her father discovers that his wife (Vien’s mother) has gotten up and run away with his daughter, little Vien. This is when her nomad existence of going from village to village dispensing ancient cocao remedies, began. Vien is repeating the same lifestyle now with her daughter, Anook.
Right away, one suspects that this lifestyle is not that satisfying for Vien but that fear keeps her on the run. So her desire is to find a place where she can live happily with her daughter for a long time. In her thoughts she has asked for this. And whenever someone asks for what they want, it is always given, this is the Law of Attraction.
As well, it is clear that Anook would like to settle somewhere permanently. Her travels are not much fun anymore and so she too, is asking for stability.
Vien becomes very good friends with Armande, an elderly woman, who is estranged from Caroline, her daughter. Caroline does not allow her to see her grandson. Armande is yearning for connection with her grandson. Another request to the universe that is being given.
Vien is so WANTING or DESIRING of good relations to occur around her and she finds a way for Armande and her grandson to connect. It is a very sweet gesture of paying her grandson to draw his grandmother’s portrait. They find a way to do this when his mother, Caroline is not around. One day her daughter comes into the chocolaterie, when her son is there. Caroline is furious about this.
Josephine, one of Viens helpers says to the boys mother “he is happy here it is good for him,” which is the truth and Caroline responds by saying “I will decide what is good for him.” She is going against her own sons happiness here because clearly he wants to be with his grandmother.
Caroline also gets upset with Vien for feeding her mother sweets because Armande has diabetics and is very ill. After Caroline leaves, Armande says to Vien “don’t you dare pity me.” This is an indication that she does not want her freedom to eat what she wants, to be suppressed, because of her illness. Her freedom is important to her first and foremost, even at the expense of her health. In a moment, when Vien is discouraged she asks Armande what she can do. Armande says “throw me a party” and after the party I will go and get the medical help I need.
Vien agrees reluctantly, she thinks that no one will show up because the mayor does not like that she has opened up her ‘chocolaterie’ during the lenten season. She sends out invitations to many of her friends and realizes that while the mayor may not like her delicious creations, others do. Vien comes into her power, her confidence, when she confronts the ‘Count/Mayor’ telling him that she has a right to be here and is doing nothing wrong.
To her party, she invites Rue, a drifter gypsey, who comes to town by boat with his friends. The mayor and others are quite prejudice towards them but Vien quite likes Rue. They develop a beautiful friendship. At one point Rue asks her “why do you care what these narrow-minded people think? Vien just ignores him and she begins the food preparation for the party.
One gets the impression that Rue, while saying he is content, would very much like to settle down and meet someone lovely to be with. So both Rue and Vien, have been asking, with their thoughts, for love to come forth and when they meet the viewer can see that this is a sweet match. The universe is reponding to their desires by bringing them together. The Law of Attraction in action.
Josephine, a woman who has been battered by her abusive husband, comes into the shop and steals a box of chocolates. Vien does not notice but she does notice that Josephine does not take the box of chocolates she wants to offer her. When Vien goes to visit her at her home, she finds her terrified and living at the mercy of her abusive and controlling husband. Later, Josephine eventually comes into Viens shop and pays for the box of chocolates she stole and they become fast friends. As Josephine speaks of her unhappiness, she confesses that she feels weak and does not love her husband because she feels too afraid to leave. Vien comforts and uplifts her, thus giving her the strength to do what she wants, to leave her husband. She escapes one night after being beaten. Josephine arrives at her door beaten and hysterical, saying “I did it, I did it. He woke up and he tried to come after me and I had already tied his feet with his belt.” This that she had asked for, the strength to leave, happened, again the Law of Attraction in action.
Vien sees the bruises on Josephine’s face and invites her to live with her. She teaches Josephine how to make the chocolate treats and she becomes a part of her business. One gets the impression that Josephine wants more meaning in her life and this request is answered from the universe.
The chocolates are erotic, ie. Nipples of Venice and the business begins to flourish once Josephine arrives. They both uplift and bringing happiness to the town people through their kindness and tasty treats.
The church demands that during the lentin season, people stay away from sweets but with the ‘chocolatier’ in town so many people are going to confession because they cannot resist these strong desires for chocolate. This is an example of how when we do not go with our desires it creates resistance and discomfort and it also questions these church rituals.
Vien confronts the Count one day, saying “if you expect me to just shrivel up and blow away, you will be disappointed”. And he replys, “let me put this into perspective for you, you and your trifles provide less of a challenge for me and you will be out of business by Easter.” Vien is furious. The Count is unhappy that Vien has opened up a partisserie during the Lenten season and he spends time letting others know that he is unhappy about this, seeing the eating of chocolates as a weakness. He is a rigid and unhappy man, whose wife has just left him, One gets the idea that he is taking out his frustration and anger on Vien.
When he sees that he is losing control of the people in the village because they are all WANTING and buying chocolate, he pushes against her even harder, thus making it even more likely that people will buy these delicious treats. What you fight you actually expand, another part of the Law of Attraction. It is also clear that the people in this village are wanting more fun and pleasure.
It all comes to a head, when one night he goes to the chocolaterie to destroy it and he ends up in the window tasting all of the goodies and becoming drunk in the delight of the chocolates. It is a sweet metaphor for the triumph of what is good and pleasurable. In the morning Vien is there with a drink to sooth him, letting him know she will tell no one. At last his kindness is unfolded, he softens and apologizes profusely.
The young priest, who has been influenced by the Count, sees the Count in the ‘chocolatier’ window, drunk on chocolate. He realizes what has happened and he is inspired to speak at his homily on Easter Sunday. He says, ” I want to speak of Jesus’ humanity, his kindness, his tolerance. We cannot go around measuring our goodness by what we don’t do, by what we deny ourselves, what we resist and who we exclude, instead, we have to measure our goodness by what we embrace, what we create and who we include.” The parishioners felt a new sensation that day, a lightening of the spirit, a freedom from the old stoic tranquility. What this means is all of the resistance of the old rigid ways are being lifted so people can feel their freedom.
There is a section in the movie where the Count has people put up signs in the town that say “boycott immorality” meaning the gypsys or ‘river rats’ as some call these people. Vien ignores that signs and becomes friends with Rue. It is clear the Rue does not like to be treated this way, he is a dignified man and has asked vibrationally, without words, to be treated with respect and kindness. The Law of Attractions promise is whenever we ask, it is always given. Our job is to get into a good feeling about it all and that which we ask for is given. Rue and Vien become dear friends and you can see throughout that they are drawn romantically to one another.
The chocolate scenes are a metaphor for all the good things in life and how lovely they are……..all the desires of us all. And the food at Armandes party is succulent, delicious, mellowing. In a way, it is kind of like slapping the rigid restrictions of the church in the face. The music at the party is soothing and relaxing. They end up going for dessert on Rue’s boat, at Vien request, once again slapping the rigid narrow-minded rules of Lenten season in the face. The party opens people up to their true desires, including the first sexual encounter between Vien and Rue. On the boat, in a conversation with Rue, Vien comes to a deeper truth about how her gypsy lifestyle has affected her daughter, Anook, and how Anook hates the traveling around. Armond’s final words after this glorious party are “Thank you.” She and Vien hug each other for the final time, then, Armond’s grandson walks his grandmother home and she dies peacefully in her sleep. This is such a beautiful example of someone who has lived her life fully, is at peace after reconciliation with her grandson and dies in peace at her chosen time.
The rigidity of the church is so palpable, so oppressive and it gets shown in this movie so well. One can see the forces that Vien is up against. And yet she is such a freedom seeker and she acts on her deep KNOWING of what makes her happy. Her perseverance, her strength and desire to uplift and offer joy (in the form of sweets) is so strong. She holds fast to her vision and only falters once, when she decides to leave again and go to another town. The strength and inspiration she has evoked in others is so strong that they go ahead without her to prepare for the big festival that Vien had originally planned. Now, they will not be stopped. Josephine is so empowered she gathers several people to help in the preparation.
In her preparation to leave, Anook gets very upset. She does not want to be uprooted again and in her frustration drops the pottery bowl with her grandmother’s ashes in it. The ashes are all over the ground. This provides a shock effect for Vien. She gets shocked back into her truth, she goes into the kitchen and sees her friends preparing the treats for the party. In this moment she realizes she is home and begins to help out.
The Easter Sunday party demonstrates the freeing of the spirit for them all, the Count, Josephine, Vien everyone, and of course her desire to have Rue return is manifested in the last scene. All is well.
So much transformation in this movie. The universe is answering all of the requests of the people because they are relaxing and doing what feels good to them. The Law of Attraction with each character is at play and each person in this film becomes transformed.