My favorite book-to-movie love story is more than a romance between a man and a woman. Chocolat is also a story about a closed and traditional community that is forever lifted and enlivened by our heroine, Vianne (Juliette Binoche), and about how she learns to accept the love and support of other people for probably the first time in her life.
Yes, there is a hunky and dashing hero – Roux – played by Johnny Deppat his all-time yummiest. The two share some lovely romantic interludes aboard his river pirate boat. And the kind of love Roux has for Vianne is the best kind: he accepts and admires her because she is bold and strong and unique, and not afraid to play by her own rules. But his part in the movie is relatively small. The most important love story – in my opinion – is the transformation of the people of the little French town. Vianne shows them another way of being, a way that includes pleasure and joy of life. In turn, they eventually rally around her and save her chocolate shop business, and embrace her and her little girl as a permanent part of their community.
I’ve probably seen this movie six or seven times. I own a copy. Watching it is an experience into which I completely immerse myself. The movie was filmed in a little French village and is visually stunning and completely evocative of the 1959 setting. And the music? I own the soundtrack too. Rachel Portman was nominated for an Oscar for the music she wrote, and I definitely think she should have won. The sound track completely transports me, just as the movie does.
So you can imagine that after I had seen Chocolat a time or two I was anxious to read the novel by Joanne Harris on which the movie was based. Funny thing: I never made it a quarter of the way into the book. By then I was so in love with the screen play version, the book didn’t work at all for me. I think that is the first time that has ever happened. Usually I love the book and dislike the movie.
Has this ever happened to you? Did you see Chocolat and did you like it? What’s your favorite book-to-movie love story? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
“Let’s read something spicy!”