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Merci Pour le Chocolat

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Merci Pour le Chocolat

Starring: Isabelle Huppert, Jacques Dutronc
Director: Claude Chabrol
Rated: NR
RunTime: 99 Minutes
Release Date: July 2002
Genres: Drama, Foreign, French

*Also starring: Brigitte Catillon, Michel Robin, Anna Mouglalis, Rodolphe Pauly

Review by Steve Rhodes
2 stars out of 4

MERCI POUR LE CHOCOLAT, by veteran French director Claude Chabrol (LA CEREMONIE), is a non-mystery mystery.

Its central conceit is that Jeanne Pollet (Anna Mouglalis) may have been accidentally swapped at birth with Guillaume Polonski (Rodolphe Pauly). When Jeanne, an older teen, hears this story, she immediately begins to wonder if it might be true. After all, Guillaume's father, André (Jacques Dutronc), is a famous pianist, which is exactly what she is training to be. Maybe they share the same genes.

The mystery, however, turns out to be more about Mika (Isabelle Huppert), Guillaume's stepmother, who may be involved in some foul play. Huppert, who has been terrific in many French films, did her best work in THE PIANO TEACHER, which was released earlier this year in the United States.

The whole plot is so obvious that the movie might as well have dispensed entirely with the pretext of assuming that we might not be able to figure it out. This is a significant problem since there isn't much more to the story than the mysteries of the possible baby swap and the foul play.

The only part of the production that is consistently exceptional is the piano music. Luckily, we get to hear a lot of it.

MERCI POUR LE CHOCOLAT runs 1:39. The film is in French with English subtitles. It is not rated but might be PG for thematic elements and would be acceptable for any kid old enough to be able to read subtitles.

Copyright © 2002 Steve Rhodes

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