The movie chocolat is a very romantic movie with a lot of love. It’s also more about the chocolate boutique, who owns Vianne. However is that case in the book a side issue. In the book it’s more about faith. Lansquenet-sous-tannes (Lansquenet) is a very religious village. Where much of the community’s activities are dominated by the local Christian church. In the book there are also clear signs of Christian habits and Christian vieuws which clash with the habits of Vianne.
Easter is for Christian people a very religious festival. Finding Easter eggs belongs according to their opinion not to the Easter festival. Easter is a feast for them in honour of Jesus, who according to them on Easter day has risen from the dead. That’s why it is for Father Reynould ridiculous and not understandable that Vianne will give a Chocolate festival in honour of Easter. Father Reynould and Caro Clairmont are trying to stop this and the original Easter with a speech in the church to maintain. And that conflict escalates into a ‘Church not Chocolate’ battle.
Before Easter always follows a time when there is Lent in Christian religion. The period of Lent takes 46 days where there are 40 days where is in fasted and 6 Sundays where there is not fasted. In those days you eat 2 meals a day and then only 2 / 3 of what would normally be eaten. But eating meat is totally prohibited in that period. This is also reflected in the book, when Guillaume Duplessis buys some meat for his dog Charly but he may not it meat because of Lent. Reynould and other people of the community think it is ridiculous that Vianne opens a Chocolate Boutique in front of the church during Lent.
Also marriage is for Christian people something a really important event. It is a commitment between two people that really should not be broken. Split up, getting divorced, is actually not an issue in Christian religions. You must to stay together until death. even if the relationship went bad. This is also the case in Chocolat. Almost all of the woman in Chocolat think it’s ridiculous when Joséphine leaves her husband Paul-Marie Muscat. Father Reynould is trying to chance her decision, and get her back to Muscat. Even though he treated her very badly.
Later in the book, are the gypsies in Lansquenet.Contemporary gypsies are still seen as thieves, crazy people and diviners. While they are ordinary people like us. They are just a nation. When the Gypsies arrive in Lansquenet, aren’t they allowed anywhere, except for the chocolate boutique from Vianne. The residents want them to leave as soon as possible. Gypsies refurbishing many odd jobs and they are very often very useful in many things. Roux is also a carpenter and bursting chores for Aramde, Vianne and later also for Joséphine. Unlike the book are gypsies often also charm boots and gladly accept money, while Roux just ignore the money en don’t want to accept it. He even didn’t accept a cup of warm chocolate, because he thinks that Vianne gives it to him because of pity. The residents of Lansquenet think the gypsies are God hating and unbelieving people, which is funny because they actually share the same faith. Gypsies are in fact most of the time also Christians.
In chocolat there is a very strong community link between the residents of Lansquenet, although not between all. There is also a lot of gossip, and really fast knows everybody everything about each other and what’s happening in town. I think this is very oppressive, because everything is a obligation, going to church, belief in God, having Lent etc, and when you ignore all this and when you don’t respect the requirements of the community, you are weird and everybody is talking about you. I think it will upset me and make me uncertain, just like Joséphine.
I think the movie is nicer, because in the movie it is more about the Chocolate boutique and the magical things Vianne can do with chocolate. And I like the fact that she knows the favourite of everybody and that is more evident in the movie. But instead I think the book is very good because it’s more a story which can really exists. And the Religion habits are more in the book. The movie is also very default while the book is full of surprises. I think Joanne Harris did a great job with writing this story.Highly recommented!