Chocolat DVD

Directed by: Lasse Hallström. Starring: Johnny Depp, Juliette Binoche, Judi Dench, Alfred Molina, and Lena Olin.

Johnny Depp in Chocolat

Synopsis: A woman named Vianne (played by Juliette Binoche) arrives in a small French town with her young daughter. The presence of the never-married single mother creates a stir in this small, church-centered town—one that is only exacerbated when Vianne opens a chocolate shop in the middle of Lent. Nor is the situation improved when she befriends Gypsies who take up residence on the town’s waterfront…

Sample quote: “I think we can’t go around measuring our goodness by what we don’t do.” — Père Henri

Comment: It’s a sweet movie in a lot of ways. The characters are presented sympathetically; the chocolate-making scenes are to die for; and the setting is charming. The plotline, while not “heavy,” is substantial enough to sustain interest through repeated viewings. Rating: ***½

The Extras: The “Costumes of Chocolat” and the “Production Design” featurettes give more insight into where and when the movie was set. “The Making of Chocolat” features interviews with most everyone involved in the movie, including the actors, the director, the producers, and the musical director.

Several deleted scenes are also available; curiously, they do not include the sequence of Depp’s Roux and Dench’s character dancing, even though that is discussed in the “Making of” documentary and was featured in the movie’s trailer (another item curiously absent from this DVD). A commentary track is also available in which one finds out, among other things, that Johnny Depp really doesn’t like chocolate. Freak.

Usability: Good. Short, luscious-looking scenes give way to a menu that is very simple to navigate through.