Lasse Hallstrom displays the events of "Chocolat" effectively in the film version of the 1999 novel of the same name by Joanne Harris. Europe is renowned for its fine chocolates, so the title suits the French setting well. The main theme in both the film and the novel is social equity and many aspects of this theme are displayed in "Chocolat". There are a number of other themes represented such as domestic violence, community spirit (both good and bad), the church v witchcraft, racial discrimination, and the role of women in society, euthanasia and food.
Joanne Harris' husband was the inspiration for Chocolat. Annoyed that he was watching the footy on TV Harris asked him what he thought was the female equivalent of football. His answer was "chocolate", which resulted in Harris writing a novel based around the theme of chocolate.
The story is narrated by two of the characters.
Vianne Rocher a stranger in the town and Pere Francis Reynaud town Mayor/Catholic Priest the both give their own version of events as they unfold.
The novel and the film describe the stranger Vianne Rocher and her six year old daughter Anouk arrival in the village of Lansquent with the north wind on Shrove Tuesday. Tired of wandering, Anouk begs her mother to stay. Vianne and Anouk move into a shop across the road from the church and open a chocolate shop. Vianne is a single parent, who contrary to the rest of the village does not attend church. Everyone in the town is astounded by Vianne's actions and her way of life. She opens her own chocolate shop right in the middle of Lent a holy time of self-discipline for the Catholic Church. From the moment Vianne sees Reynaud you know there...