ChildCare Action Project (CAP): Christian Analysis of American Culture


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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
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Chocolatw/ Guest Analysis (2000), (PG-13)
CAP Score: 55
CAP Influence Density: 0.85

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ALERT: To fully understand this report you should first visit the topics suggested by the CAP Table of Contents.

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NOTE: If you do not want the plot, ending, or "secrets" of a movie spoiled for you, skip the Summary/Commentary. In any case, be sure to visit the Findings/Scoring section -- it is purely objective and is the heart of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model applied to this movie


If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary likely using a mix of KJV and NIV.

CHOCOLAT (PG-13) -- it is now okay for your 13 year olds to watch intercourse with nudity -- "sensuality" according to the MPAA.

Chocolat is war of morality. It is a war between the practitioners of "if it feels good, do it" and of righteousness; between hedonism and Christianity, rather with "Churchianity" (that which might be described as a system of worship and obedience doctrines which satisfy man but any adherence to the teachings and expectations of Jesus is coincidental, superficial, or counterfeited). Chocolat is the age-old war between what hedonists say is good for you and obedience to God's Will. And, yes, Chocolat is figuratively a war between Hollywood and the CAP ministry.

The lead character and hedonist, Vianne (Juliette Binoche) is presented as bright, intelligent, tolerant and enlightened. She comes with the wind to a quaint little French village bringing her chocolate confections during lent. The village is "ruled" by the wealthy bourgeois righteous one, Comte de Reynaud (Alfred Molina), the mayor of the village, who is portrayed as closed minded, intolerant, misguided and brain-washed and is easily given to underhandedness when his "kingdom" is threatened.

Chocolate and lent do not mix. This time the hedonist wins and everybody, even the previously obedient ones, are happy with their new lifestyle of self which places God on the shelf, to be retrieved at the next convenience ... or need. Chocolat is also an exercise in interfering with the established way of life of a people in favor of a newcomer's beliefs and ethics [sound familiar?]. For the Star Trek fans, Chocolat is an exercise in violating the prime directive. And all is supposed to be for the good of the villagers - or for whomever will yield to the new lifestyle. But by whose standards? And at what price? One of the more disturbing portrayals to me was that it takes "new age" ethics to give abused wife, Josephine (Lena Olin) the courage to stand up to her abusive husband, Serge (Peter Stormare).

The quiet and peaceful village has been living in comfortable routine. Its inhabitants lived, though mechanically, in obedience to God or at least what the Comte said was obedience to God. Then along comes Vianne with her "good for what ails you" concoctions; one as an aphrodisiac, one for poor spirits, one for just about everything else including one for giving bravado to the consumer. She would, just as does the drug dealer, give you a free sample just to get you to try it. And like the drug dealer with his/her enlightening substance, we never see Vianne or her delightful daughter, Anouk (Victoire Thivisol) sample her concoctions. Anouk, whose father is unknown, has an imaginary kangaroo friend who inaudibly speaks to her -- until the end of the show when it materializes and hops off once Anouk finally believes she has a home, a home she does not have to leave every time she starts to get comfortable.

Vianne becomes the mentor, counselor and confidante for most of the women of the village (and a few of the men) advising each in how to handle their husbands, manage their affairs and solve their troubles. Sounds all well and good as long as Vianne's standards are good. But that is just it. Whether her standards were good was immaterial. Her standards seemed be whatever is required by the moment or situation. The acceptability of the "improvements" in various lifestyles and practices were by *her* standards: standards which were much, much easier than the "suffocating" restrictions of the church; standards which were sometimes a deliciously naughty deviation from righteous [Rom. 16:17-18].

One of Vianne's first concoctions was to improve the sexual performance, or at least sexual interest of a malcontent husband. And it worked. And we were shown how well it worked, at a distance but we were shown nonetheless. And so were the kids in the audience shown how well it worked. Sensing the discord developing in the village because of the contamination by the liberal ways of the new woman in town and her scandalous lifestyle and ethics down to her choice of shoes, Comte de Reynaud started spreading rumors--the truth but rumors nonetheless--about Vianne, her "ways" and her "illegitimate child." Reynaud hoped to unsettle Vianne's footing in the community enough to make her leave.

To fuel the negative image of the Comte and magnify the hedonist, the Comte's wife's visit in Venice rolls from weeks to months, suggesting her intolerance of the providential life and expressing her intolerance by leaving him rather than just visiting as he says. And as if Vianne was not enough of a headache for the Comte, Roux (Johnny Depp) shows up with his "wandering gypsy" group. Roux complicates the efforts to prevent contamination of the way of life in the village with outside influences. Roux and Vianne get along together fabulously (imagine that!), fall in love and make love (out of wedlock, of course) [1Ths. 4:2-5]. And in an effort to eliminate the threat, Serge sets fire to Roux's houseboat, thinking the Comte had ordered him to do so -- a very good portrayal of the need to be careful not only of what you say but in how to say it AND to whom.

We are also treated to how Vianne's mother and father conceived her while under the influence of the very secrets Vianne added to her chocolate concoctions. And the nudity was not masked. It is now okay for your 13 year olds to watch intercourse with nudity -- "sensuality" according to the MPAA. Child Protective Services call showing children sexual pictures abuse. God calls it sin.

And, of course, when the logic of the script called for statements such as "I'm his mother and I know what is best for him" from one of the town mothers, such God-given responsibility was belittled and made to appear as closed minded and abusive. Well, what we are doing helps you, mom (and dad). We tell you the truth about the content of a movie so YOU can make an informed decision whether a flick is fit for your kids without the pressures of word of mouth, advertisements, and pleas from your progeny and the pressures on them from their peers.

Among the more serious issues of concern to parents and grandparents are likely the intense content of impudence, particularly the rebellion against God's Word in favor of the hedonism. There was much to fuel adolescent argument in favor of serving the self before all else and much to simply believe that God's Absolutes are optional by implanting short-sightedness (failure to think beyond the here-and-now).

As always, I ask you to rely more on the listing and comparative scoring in the Findings/Scoring section than this commentary in summary format. There is MUCH more ignominy in this artsy film, far too much to even summarize. So, please be sure to visit the Findings/Scoring section.


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ].
  • Rom. 16:17-18 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.
  • 1Ths. 4:2-5 For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God;

    *******Food for Thought*******
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 (KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (NIV) Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.
  • Jude 4 For certain men* whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]

    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.

    FINDINGS / SCORING: Chocolat (2000) CAP Thermometers

    NOTE: Multiple occurrences of each item described below may be likely, definitely when plural.

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • theft
  • "Kevorkian" drawings by a child
  • child gambling
  • breaking and entering
  • attempted murder by choking
  • beating of a woman
  • dead body
  • arson to chase off newcomers, endangering children as well as adults
  • ordering a man to run to escape accountability (illegal flight to avoid prosecution)

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • 11 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • repeated "conversations" with an imaginary friend and encouraged by an adult
  • an official spreading rumors as a subtle attack on character different from his standards
  • a woman mingling in the affairs of a marriage
  • a woman corrupting established morality standards with her own and encouraging defiance of norm
  • trying to expel someone because of being different
  • newcomer causing marital breakdown
  • wife beating
  • rejecting of people based on appearance only
  • sneaking of an adult/child pair to defy mother's wishes
  • hatred based on lifestyle
  • twisting of truths to attack socially
  • attack on righteousness, calling it marrow minded
  • sneaking out
  • using truth to disguise rebellion
  • "I hate you, mom!"
  • talking to cremated ashes
  • child defiance of parental control
  • encouraging decadence for pleasure
  • materialization of an imaginary "friend"

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • child by sexual immorality
  • intercourse at a distance
  • story of immorality
  • nude pictures
  • intercourse with nudity
  • sexual comment
  • dog mounting dog
  • gaping mouth kissing
  • intercourse (unseen) with dressing afterward
  • excessive breast exposure/cleavage
  • figurine nudity

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • booze
  • drinking
  • smoking
  • intoxication, some by chocolate concoctions

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • two uses of God's name in vain but all without the four letter expletive
  • implied supernatural manifestation
  • belittlement of God's plan for marriage and rejection of His ordainment in marriage
  • mockery of righteousness
  • "I'd rather be in Hell."
  • portrayal of it taking a "shock" to open eyes to come to senses
  • portrayal that prayer to God told mayor to do harm
  • rejection of God's Word to measure goodness

    Murder/Suicide (M)(3):
  • none noted

    SPECIAL: This is a Special Guest MMMitt Analysis Analysis by John Mittler, aka Movie Rat from Finland. Visit MMMitt Analysis for an explanation of their rating codes.

    Presenting guest analyses from MMMitt Analysis is an effort to join together Christians who battle sin in sinema from both continents. On our way to world-wide presence, the CAP Ministry is honored to bring to you the insight of our fellow Soldiers of Finland. John is featuring CAP analyses on his website and will occasionally be sending us his analyses of movies which are playing in Finland before release in the US for the CAP to share with you. Let us welcome MMMitt Analysis with love and in service to our Lord.


    Genre: Drama
    Age limit in Finland: 11. US: PG-13

    CAP NOTE: This film is by Disney-owned Miramax, the makers of Pulp Fiction.

    Content rating:

    1a) Female body
    6.4 light nightgown hardly at all hides the centers of breasts from sight, pin-up pictures on the wall, nude female figure made of chocolate, very wide neckline with push-up equipment, without shirt seen from behind

    1b) Male body
    6.6 without shirt, shorts reach to half thigh

    2) Violence
    6.7 trying to strangle a human being, hitting someone's head with a heavy tool, violent pencil drawings

    3) Intimate relationships (concerns primarily the main characters)
    6.3 free intimate relationships, three different divorces, whose reasons are not introduced too closely

    4) Stimulants (concerns primarily the main characters)
    6.4 smoking, getting heavily drunk out of alcohol

    5) Property (concerns primarily the main characters)
    6.5 clear differences in the standard of living of people, some economic crimes are included in the plot of the film

    6) Language
    6.4 using once for swearing a holy name connected with a well-known religion, 7 mildly vulgar expressions, which are used for swearing one so-called hard swear-word, whose meaning is eternal kingdom of destruction [the Finnish translation doesn't use a holy name for swearing]

    7) Truth (concerns primarily the main characters)
    6.8 no supernatural events take place in the movie, but faith in supernatural forces belongs to the plot of the film [the stage of the film is a deeply religious Christian village, and the sacraments of Christianity are used quite industriously]

    8) Beauty
    6.9 generally the film respects the traditional beauty ideals quite comprehensively... along with the charming landscapes are seen rusty tapwater, playing with an earthworm, dead birds, bruise in forehead, a tattoo or two, and very mild conformity in the beautification of man and woman

    9) Music
    7.0 church organ, classical orchestra, hymns are sung in church, light guitar music

    NOTE: The CAP Analysis Model makes no scoring allowances for trumped-up "messages" to excuse or for manufacturing of justification for aberrant behavior or imagery, or for camouflaging such ignominy with "redeeming" programming. Disguising sinful behavior in a theme plot does not excuse the sinful behavior of either the one who is drawing pleasure from the sinful display or the practitioners demonstrating the sinful behavior. This is NOT a movie review service. It is a movie analysis service to parents and grandparents to tell them the truth about movies using the Truth.

    "There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." [Emphasis is mine] And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I aplaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our five-year study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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  • (1) As noted in CAP Special Report-001, "Investigation Area and Scoring Trend," of the six CAP Investigation Areas, Impudence/Hate was the strongest presence in all four movie classifications. It has a strong revelation about the entertainment media.

    (2) The use of the three/four letter word vocabulary without God's name in vain is incorporated into the Impudence/Hate Investigation Area. The use of God's name with or without the four letter expletive is incorporated into the Offense to God Investigation Area. There is no duplication.

    (3) Only portrayal of successful murder or suicide are incorporated into Murder/Suicide. Portrayal of attempts to commit murder or suicide and deaths by police action or war are incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime.

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    Since December 5, 2000