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Unlocking Chocolate

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Unlocking Chocolat

Chocolat, tells the story Vianne Rocher and her six year old daughter

Anouk, who arrive at a village somewhere in France. After arriving at the fictional

village the mother and daughter proceed to open La Celeste Praline, a small yet

distinguished chocolaterie. Vianne's chocolate quickly becomes a hit in the town

and changes the lives of the townspeople dramatically. However, that is only the

surface of an incredibly dynamic film. Therefore, to the fully understand this film

and its many meanings we must analyze it. As a result, the best and most

efficient way to analyze this film is to compare and contrast two characters that

are central to the theme of the film: Comte de Reynaud and Vianne Rocher .

Also, in order to fully understand the meaning of this film we must answer two

very important questions. (1) How do these images of God compare with Jesus'

Image of God or reality as related in Marcus Borg's book, Meeting Jesus Again

For the First Time. And (2) which character is more closely aligned to Jesus'

image of God? Before these characters are compared and questions answered

one cannot say that they fully understand the meaning of the film Chocolat.

In Chocolat, the two characters that are the most diametrically opposed to

each other (throughout the majority of the film) are Vianne Rocher, the owner

of a small yet very distinguished Chocolaterie, and Comte de Reynaud, the

overly pious mayor of their village. Each character is unique. Vianne Rocher is a

woman who wonders from village to village in search of a life she never quite

seems to find, but is always longing for. While on the other hand, Comte de Reynaud is a mayor

intent on keeping spiritual (as well as secular) rule over his town at nearly all

costs. Also very unique to each character is their view of God/reality. On the

one hand, Vianne Rocher does not attend church nor is it related to us that she

believes in Christ; however Vianne is not the least bit afraid of showing her very

loving and compassionate view of reality. Meanwhile, Comte de Reynaud

attends church every Sunday, prays daily, and even helps to write the sermons

for Sunday service. However, Comte de Reynauds view of God is quite different

from Vianne's. The Comte de Reynaud views God as a judge willing to dole out

justice and punishment at a moments notice too those who sin against him and

the church.

Vianne is an extremely interesting character. Although it is never related

to us wether she believes in God, we do know she does not attend church, that

much is certain. Along with knowing that she does not attend church we also

know that she has a loving compassionate view of society, humanity, and

reality. As a direct result of this loving and compassionate view of humanity and

reality, her behavior and attitude toward others is one of compassion and love.

This is illustrated to us under a number of different circumstances: when she

accepts Josephine into her house after she has been beaten, when she opens

her arms to the so called "river rats" as equals, and after finding the mayor

asleep in her shop window she vows not to say a word to the townspeople

knowing that it would bring shame and dishonor to his name. Each

aforementioned example is an illustration of how Vianne's view of reality as a

loving compassionate world directly affects her behavior and attitude toward

those she comes in contact with.

Comte de Reynaud is a very interesting person. He prays daily,

attends mass every Sunday, helps to write the sermons, and views God as a

judge willing to dole out justice and punishment at a moments

notice. However, the most important of the aforementioned is how Comte de Reynaud's

view of God directly affects his behavior and attitude toward others. Because

Comte de Reynaud views God as a judge who is willing to dole out justice and

punishment at a moments notice his behavior and attitude towards others is

affected in three ways. (1) He believes there is only one right and one wrong in

the world. (2) Those who are wrong need to be punished for their sins against the

Lord.

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