"Chocolat" is Oscar-baiting tripe

by Eric Melin on December 15, 2000

in Print Reviews

Interesting backstory: When I watched “Chocolat” get the 5th Best Picture nomination weeks ago live at 7 a.m. (a time I am not up at very often), I actually screamed at the TV.  THAT WAS “ALMOST FAMOUS”S NOMINATION!!!  And it should have been. Or at least “Almost Famous” was the likely 5th selection, after winning the Golden Globe for Best Picture (Comedy).  And it topped hundreds of critics’ best of lists.

“Chocolat”, meanwhile, was dismissed by serious critics as light-hearted fare and dubbed Miramax’s annual candidate for the early January Best Picture publicity rush.  And I hate to state the obvious, cynical viewpoint, but…….

It is.  Completely.

If Mirimax hadn’t run full page Variety ads and pushed their huge stable of talent into nominating this sweet nothing of a film, it would have sank into a netherworld.  At least last year when they pulled the same shit for “The Cider House Rules,” it was for a decent movie.  “Chocolat” just plain sucks.

When I review a flick, I try to review it for what it is.  The reason I can give a thumbs up to “The 6th Day” is because it was a good action movie, and it had some interesting ideas I didn’t expect.  Sure, Schwarzenegger was a bad actor.  But he always is.  And “The Terminator” films are still good.

“Chocolat” can’t even succeed at being a light-hearted art picture.  It’s so predictable that I guessed no less than four major plot points before they actually happened.  The foreshadowing is so over-the-top and ham-handedly obvious that a four year old could see these ‘revelations’ coming.

It pulls out all the same tricks you’ve seen in thousands of movies no better than “Stroker Ace,” but the fairy tale foreign setting and nice scenery try to make cliched, cookie-cutter cardboard characters seem like they’re in a halfway decent art movie, and they’re not.  It’s basically past Oscar winners Juliette Binoche and Judi Dench taking the place of John Travolta and Cynthia Rhodes in a remake of “Staying Alive.”

Flavor Flav says “Don’t believe the hype!”

Eric is the Editor-in-Chief of Scene-Stealers.com and writes the Screen Stealers column for The Pitch. He’s President of the KCFCC, and drummer for The Dead Girls and Ultimate Fakebook. He is also Air Guitar World Champion Mean Melin. Eric goes to 11. Follow him at:

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