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Спасибо за шоколад (2000) HD online

Спасибо за шоколад (2000) HD online
Language: English
Category: Movie / Crime / Drama / Mystery / Thriller
Original Title: Merci pour le chocolat
Director: Claude Chabrol
Writers: Caroline Eliacheff,Claude Chabrol
Released: 2000
Duration: 1h 41min
Video type: Movie
In Lausanne, the aspirant pianist Jeanne Pollet has lunch with her mother Louise Pollet, her boyfriend Axel and his mother. Lenna leans that when she was born, a nurse had mistakenly told to the prominent pianist André Polonski that she would be his daughter. André has just remarried his first wife, the heiress of a Swiss chocolate factory Marie-Claire "Mika" Muller and they live in Lausanne with André's son Guillaume Polonski. Out of the blue, Jeanne visits André and he offers to give piano classes to help her in her examination. Jeanne becomes closer to André and sooner she discovers that Mika might be drugging her stepson with Rohypnol. Further, she might have killed his second wife Lisbeth.
Cast overview, first billed only:
Isabelle Huppert Isabelle Huppert - Marie-Claire 'Mika' Muller
Jacques Dutronc Jacques Dutronc - André Polonski
Anna Mouglalis Anna Mouglalis - Jeanne Pollet
Rodolphe Pauly Rodolphe Pauly - Guillaume Polonski
Brigitte Catillon Brigitte Catillon - Louise Pollet
Michel Robin Michel Robin - Dufreigne
Mathieu Simonet Mathieu Simonet - Axel
Lydia Andrei Lydia Andrei - Lisbeth
Véronique Alain Véronique Alain - Madame le Maire
Isolde Barth Isolde Barth - Pauline
Jacqueline Burnand Jacqueline Burnand
François Germond François Germond
Antoinette Martin Antoinette Martin
Michel Moulin Michel Moulin
Dorotea Brandin Dorotea Brandin

At the time this movie was shot, the house was owned by David Bowie who was trying to sell it.

Although the English translation of the title is 'Thanks for the chocolate,' the movie was shown on Australian television in 2003, under the name 'Nightcap.'

In an interview, director Claude Chabrol stated that he was applying techniques which Alfred Hitchcock used even without realizing it.

In an interview about the film, Claude Chabrol said: "Perversity guides its adept (or its victim) to a form of relative solopsism that leads us to provide other examples of relative solopsism; that of the musician, for instance, with infinitely more benign consequences that are nonetheless real. We have tried to illustrate this idea by the slow dissolution of the most definite certainties of our society - here, filial descent, and so the family. The main aim is to get across the idea that all certainties melt away as the story progresses."



Reviews: [25]

  • avatar

    Funny duck

    Part of the problem with this very interesting movie is carelessness or deliberate ambiguity on the part of director Claude Chabrol. The celebrated French master of cinema really is a bit like Alfred Hitchcock in the way he put this film together. He doesn't care so much about the consistency of detail or logic, instead what he strives for, as did Hitchcock, is effect. Begin with a tantalizing premise, build tension, and then come up with a striking ending.

    The premise, that of a psychologically disturbed woman of high social and economic status (Mika Muller, played with her usual haunting skill by Isabelle Huppert), whose bizarre nature forces her to poison those around her, satisfies the formula nicely. The tension is maintained by our need to find out exactly what she is doing and why and how it will affect the husband André (Jacques Dutronc), the son Guillaume (Rodolphe Pauly), and the young pianist, Jeanne Pollet (Anna Mouglalis). The ending which is heavily symbolic and deeply psychological however may disappoint some viewers. Note that as the closing credits run down the screen, Mika cries and then curls up catatonically on the couch next to a black Afghan in the shape of a spider web. She is the spider at the side of the web waiting for something to fall into it. She can't help herself. That is her nature. And that is why she cries for herself. And notice that her husband does not hate her or rage against her. Instead he seems to have pity upon her as he plays a funereal piece on the piano.

    Personally what disappointed me--although I still think this is an excellent film--is the way the ambiguity about Jeanne's paternity is handled. Obviously we can tell by the photos on the wall of the tragically deceased Lisbeth that Jeanne is indeed her daughter since she looks exactly like her. In fact in the next scene Jeanne unconsciously apes the pose in the photo by putting the palms of her hands to either side of her face as André watches. Another problem with the film is that nobody except the audience seems struck by the exact similarity.

    Additionally, the truth of her paternity is obscured by Jeanne's mother saying that the mixup at the maternity ward was straightened out to everyone's satisfaction, and besides (almost as an afterthought) she reveals that her husband was not the father, that instead she was inseminated by an unknown donor. This silliness could easily be resolved by DNA testing since the movie, which was released in 2000, is set in contemporary France. Chabrol uses a lab to establish what drug Mika is putting in the chocolate. Why not use a lab to establish paternity? Part of the reason may simply be that the novel upon which the movie is based "The Chocolate Cobweb" was written by the American mystery writer Charlotte Armstrong in the 1950's, before the age of DNA testing.

    The real answer however is that Chabrol didn't bother, just as he didn't bother cleaning up some other ambiguities, like why the son does not confront Mika after he is told by Jeanne that Mika is drugging him. Or why Mika deliberately spills the drugged chocolate intended for Guillaume onto the floor, allowing her to be surreptitiously observed by Jeanne through a reflection in the glass of one of the photos. The spilling seems purely a plot device to allow Jeanne a reason to get the chocolat analyzed. Furthermore, we presume that Mika, who is very rich, remarries André because she loves him or admires him or wants to be with him. And it can be seen that he would want to remarry her because of her wealth, her beauty, her elegance, etc. However, it is revealed near the end of the film that he had all along suspected her of causing Lisbeth's death since he says something like "You also washed the glasses the night Lisbeth died." He knew.

    One can even go to the extent of analyzing this by saying that Mika is the black widow and André finds her irresistible. Note the scene in which he suggests they make love to have a daughter and she puts him off by saying that he would be ineffective since he has already taken his Rohypnol. She says, next time before he takes his sleep potion they will do it. Furthermore notice that EVERY night he falls into a drugged sleep since he is addicted to Rohypnol. Perhaps this nightly occurrence is pleasant to Mika, in a sense an acting out of the black widow's mating ritual again and again.

    Nonetheless, this idea of a woman helpless against her own nature seems a bit unsatisfying. We want something more. And what she does to satisfy her urges leaves us a bit mystified. It seems hardly enough. She drugs the chocolate that she lovingly makes for Guillaume and Jeanne. Why only this? Why this at all? The logic is that she needs to excrete her poison, like a spider. The very act of doing it is what satisfies her need. The fact that somebody could take the drug and then fall asleep at the wheel of a car really is beside the point.

    This tale of the dark psychology within the human soul is the sort of thing that attracts Isabelle Huppert as an actress. She has played in her distinguished career a number of roles that require evil in the human soul. This is one of the more subtle ones. For one of the more striking, see her in The Piano Teacher (2001).

    (Note: Over 500 of my movie reviews are now available in my book "Cut to the Chaise Lounge or I Can't Believe I Swallowed the Remote!" Get it at Amazon!)
  • avatar

    Ballagar

    The plot may not be particularly clever, but watching Huppert's brilliant, tense, technically outstanding acting in the role of a woman in search of a nervous breakdown against Dutronc's nonchalant, understated, simmering portrayal of a seedy pillhead, seemingly oblivious to what's going on around him, is worth the price of admission and then some! Supporting characters are all excellent, though the young girl is a bit too wide-eyed for her own good. The movie is also fun to watch just for its use of color, clothing, and art as symbols, including allusions to earlier Huppert classics like "La Dentelliere". While this might not be Chabrol's masterpiece, it would be a good example for any young director to study how a veteran uses the elements of his craft most economically to greatest effect. As for actors: watch Isabelle Huppert's face in the close-up during the long, final shot -- there's a whole acting lesson right there. Not a perfect movie, but enjoyable to watch if you have a mind for such details.
  • avatar

    Haracetys

    Sometimes a comedic story idea could make for an emotionally engrossing thriller instead. Such is the case with MERCI POUR LE CHOCOLAT. Chabrol turns what would be a situation comedy plot into a compelling thriller about failed relationships. A respected pianist Andre Polonski (Jacques Dutronc) figures that a maternity ward mishap caused him and his wife, Marie (Isabelle Hubbert) a chocolate manufacturer, to raise the wrong child.

    Their college age `son', Guillaume, actually belongs to somebody else. Andre's real child seems to be Jeanne, (Anna Maoglalis) a lovely piano student. Jeanne and her boyfriend, a medical lab intern, are trying to figure out what poison will do some undetected dirty work (Chabrol originally studied to be a pharmacist) Chabrol started his career in the 1950's co-authoring well respected essays on Alfred Hitchcock with fellow countryman and future director Eric Rohmer. Unlike DePalma with his very obvious `Hey, hey look, what Hitchcock film is my scene copied from?' Chabrol wisely keeps his Hitchcock copying to a minimum with subtle Hitchcock styled camera movement. Instead of celebrating `technical innovation', Chabrol uses his camera to keep us gazing at the film's characters.
  • avatar

    Anarus

    BEWARE: These comments give away crucial elements of the plot!!! Don't read these comments unless you've seen the movie!!!

    Even though I don't find the movie works well as a thriller, I am glad I watched it. Here is why:

    Assume that your behavior is determined by your nature, i.e. by the genes that have been passed down to you from your parents. Is it then still possible to hold someone responsible for what he or she is doing? In other words: Why do things happen the way they happen? This is IMHO the fundamental question that Claude Chabrol asks in his latest movie Sweet Poison.

    From very early on in the movie the alignment of characters is fairly obvious: A couple consisting of a femme fatale and a detached pianist, their dull son and as a twin personality the young, alert, and beautiful woman, and her mother, a doctor. Whereas the social relations between these characters are plain: couple, son, daughter, the biological relations between them are highly questionable: the son had been conceived by a woman who later on died in a car-accident; daughter and son might have been swapped on their very first day of life; the doctor conceived her child with the help of an anonymous donator of semen; the femme fatale had been adopted by her parents. This absurd number of ambiguities seems to indicate that this is really the main theme of the movie. The viewer is led to believe that the swapping actually took place and that the daughter has inherited the musical talent from the pianist, while the son inherits the dull unspecificity of his anonymous father.

    All four main characters - the couple, son, and daughter - simply live out what has been given to them by nature: the father is a famous pianist, his daughter follows his foot-steps. The femme fatale (symbolically portrayed as a spider) tries to kill the women that get in between herself and the pianist (the mother of the son and the pianist's daughter). The daughter lives an interesting life, which includes playing piano. The son doesn't act at all.

    The femme fatale kills the mother of the pianist's son with the help of sweet poison (reflecting the German title: Suesses Gift). When the daughter starts to interfere with the life of the couple, the femme fatale takes the exact same steps (not buying drugs, hurting her son's foot, sending the woman into town to buy drugs, mixing sleeping drugs into the woman's drink) in order to kill the daughter, too. She behaves like a spider that builds a web and immediately starts to build another one when a scientist destroys the web the spider just made: It is a built-in program that's running, not something that the wasp decides to do or not to do. When the pianist finds out about his wife's nature, he doesn't grab her by the throat or accuses her. He just asks her why she did it and then goes on to play piano. This answers the first question: If humans are driven by their nature one cannot hold them responsible for their deeds anymore. Because it is just their nature and they cannot help it.

    However, when the femme fatale tries to kill a woman who is close to the pianist the second time around, she fails. Her plan goes the same way as the first time. Whether she succeeds or fails depends on chance, i.e. circumstances that lie beyond her influence, like better car technology. What determines the outcome of things then - the second question - is not human will or drive, but random chance. It is nothing but luck whether things work out or not, if we assume that it is all in our nature/genes.
  • avatar

    Yndanol

    'Merci pour la chocolat' combines the two most characteristic tones of late Chabrol - the grim, relentless Langian formalism carried over from his great mid-period to films like 'La Ceremonie'; and the more relaxed, comic works like 'Cop Au Vin' or 'Rien ne va plus'. the seriousness can be found within a plot about individual and family tragedy; the treatment is never flippant, and the ending is numbing. The 'fun', if you want to call it that, arises from Chabrol's winking contract with his audience, offering a magnificently contrived story about parents and children, possible switches of babies, boyfriends who conveniently happen to be trainee forensic scientists, and so can check chocalate stains for poison: adding up to a mystery story whose solution is actually revealed in the first half hour.

    The fun lies not in who done it - there are no other suspects, there may not even be a crime - but what is going on in the heroine's head, with Chabrol littering clues and red herrings. He is gloriously helped by Isabelle Huppert's obfuscating performance, her character's fundamental blankness - she is an observer judging others' reactions - is varied by vacuousness; hysteria; somnolence; good humour; tenderness; calculation. Which of these, if any, are the 'real' Mika? In a film characteristically loaded with allusions to Greek mythology, Mika is Arachne, a spider caught in her own web (appropriately the design on her sofa as her defeat sinks in, suggesting it was never her web in the first place, but that of the bourgeoisie to which she, as an orphaned outsider, never truly belonged), every cunning plan never bringng her closer to the object of her desire, the wearyingly narcissistic Polonski.

    Of course, Chabrol achieves his effects more subtly than mere plot leg-pulling - as the allusion to Fritz Lang suggests, it is the smoothly unstable playing with point of view that unsettles our attempts at definitive explanations. It might be going too far to suggest that Chabrol's method in the film is Cubist, but he has an unsettling habit of breaking up sequences, cutting between camera positions as if he is starting a new scene, although it's just another angle on the same one. This can happen when he shifts the focus from one group of characters in a scene to another; more distractingly, it can happen within one group itself, breaking up a conversation with camera angles, or colour tones that don't match.

    Despite the title and the central McGuffin about poisoned chocolate, the film's governing metaphor is the music that frequently punctuates the narrative (Liszt's 'Funerailles'!). The central structural unit, the preserve of that other Chabrol idol, Hitchcock, is the double or reproduction - the film begins with a once-married couple remarrying, the officiary and 'bride' sharing the same red hair. The main action towards which the narrative leads doubles an action that shadows the entire film (the death of the first wife), right down to the son suffering the same ankle injury.

    The plot is full of parents and their children, many of dubious certainty about their relationships. In the piano sequences, the original pieces are doubled by the pianists' interpretations (further reproduced in a recording Polonski and Jeanne listen to), on two pianos reflecting their bourgeois surroundings; they become a weird kind of incestuous sublimation.

    All this doubling and reproduction serves to further isolate Mika, a ganging up on her in terms of form and content, increasing a sympathy enlisted enlisted by Huppert's acting, and achieving a kind of empty tragedy.
  • avatar

    Yggdi

    It's a thriller, suspenseful, yet not pushy in its pace. The plot progression edges on at its own natural tempo, with piano recitals punctuating the interludes while, yes, we worry about Mika Muller (Huppert's character) - whatever might she be up to in spite of her ever so charming and outwardly friendly disposition, or is she?

    In a way, it's a (light) psychological murder drama, and we kinda know the seed of evil is with Huppert's character. The trailer and the advertising synopsis suggested that obvious clue. But somehow, it didn't decrease the level of suspense. Huppert again exercises her art of subtle acting - that nonchalant facial expression that hardly flinches or betrays her suppressed inner conflicting feelings behind the mask of well-groomed outfits and demeanor.

    For the most part, we follow the interaction between the other characters (good supporting cast): Mika's husband André Polonski (Jacques Dutronc) the famous pianist, the sluggish step-son Guillaume (Rodolphe Pauly) whom Polonski wants to cherish but has not the time to understand the growing teenager - whose mother, Polonski's beloved wife Lisbeth, died in a car accident years ago, and Jeanne Pollet (Anna Mouglalis) the newly introduced excitement in Polonski's life - a protégée eager to win a piano competition, and Jeanne's widowed mother Dr. Pollet (Brigitte Catillon) who heads the crime lab. Jeanne is an intelligent young woman besides being a talented pianist with potential, and we led to believe her suspicion about Mika and her serving of hot chocolate nightcaps to the Polonski's.

    Chabrol's writing and directing style never thrust obvious murderous threads in front of us. There are no actual blood or acts of violence we see. Everything seems so civil. Clues are suggestive through conversational exchange between the characters and outside of the frames. That's the masterful beauty of a Claude Chabrol piece - exquisitely presented and delightful to enjoy at ease.

    The notion of serving up possibly 'poisoned' hot chocolate does remind one of Hitchcock's 1941 "Suspicion" with Cary Grant and Joan Fontaine, including a similar driving scene yet outcome reveals off camera cleverly through a conversation.

    Lately, Huppert's taken on roles that are, perhaps, psychologically in need of TLC (tender loving care): here in "Merci pour le chocolat", in Haneke's "The Piano Teacher", and in Ozon's who dunnit musical "8 Women" - she actually gets to have the most changes of outfit (3) than the other 7 actresses, besides performing her number in 'talk through' style sitting down at the piano vs. dancing around singing the song. She's having fun in portraying such characters, no doubt.

    If you enjoy foreign movies, a French thriller drama with subtitles by Ian Burley (who did the wonderful translated subtitles to the Italian film "Bread and Tulips"), "Merci pour le chocolat" is for you. Enjoy!
  • avatar

    Mr.Savik

    In Lausanne, the aspirant pianist Jeanne Pollet (Anna Mouglalis) has lunch with her mother Louise Pollet (Brigitte Catillon), her boyfriend Axel (Mathieu Simonet) and his mother. Jeanne leans that when she was born, a nurse had mistakenly told to the prominent pianist André Polonski (Jacques Dutronc) that she would be his daughter. André has just remarried his first wife, the heiress of a Swiss chocolate factory Marie-Claire "Mika" Muller (Isabelle Huppert) and they live in Lausanne with André's second marriage son Guillaume Polonski (Rodolphe Pauly).

    Out of the blue, Jeanne visits André and he offers to give piano classes to help her in her examination. Jeanne becomes closer to André and visits him every day; sooner she discovers that Mika might be drugging her stepson with Rohypnol. Further, she might have killed André's second wife Lisbeth.

    "Merci pour le Chocolat" is another ambiguous film by Claude Chabrol about evilness, alienation and manipulation. Isabelle Huppert, who is one of Chabrol's favorite's actresses, performs a wicked lady. The essence of her evil is not explained, but she is capable to drug and kill her best friend and incapable to love or donate to help children.

    Jeanne Pollet is manipulative and greedy, and uses the incident in the maternity hospital to get closer to André. When she sees the photo of Lisbeth in the bedroom, she returns to the pianos room where André is and puts her hands on her face exactly the same way Lisbeth did.

    André Polonski is alienated and lives his life in the world of music, and doping to sleep and ignoring to see what Mika did to Lisbeth. They live a hypocrite life with Guillaume, who does not have any objective in life.

    This film is not among the best works of Claude Chabrol, but anyway it is entertaining. My vote is seven.

    Title (Brazil): "A Teia de Chocolate" ("The Chocolate Cobweb")
  • avatar

    Dianazius

    Both Huppert and Chabrol are prolific and last year they worked together yet again on a movie light years ahead of this one but when one is prolific one is playing the percentages and winds up with a high chaff to wheat ratio as both have done here. Perhaps most risible is the scene towards the end that appears to be Chabrol's version of the heroine walking the corridors of the Gothic castle at three in the morning wearing only a negligee and armed only with a candle in the full knowledge that there are murderers, maniacs, vampires, perm any one from three, on the loose. Chabrol's take on this is to have a young girl volunteer to drive the car of her hostess along a winding road at night in the full knowledge that the hostess has drugged her drink. Realistically all she had to do was let the hostess, Huppert, drive herself to the pharmacy to collect a prescription, or even, if it comes to that, let the chauvinistic husband (Dutronc) pick up his own prescription. This is but one in a series of plot holes that may well be symbolised by the cobweb shawl Huppert is knitting throughout. Children swapped at birth (well, it was good enough for Shakespeare, Chabrol may argue), one of them the child of a forensic lab owner with a boyfriend working there, so convenient for testing possible toxins the spider-woman may be lacing the drinks with. More? How about this: confronted by a strange girl who claims she may be his daughter Dutronc goes from 'you must be mad' to 'come and play a little four-hand piano with me' in minutes.

    The colors are of that strangely muted type that Chabrol seems to have made his own, the two young actors clearly came in a flat-pack from IKEA and there's a lack of interaction throughout. Isabelle Huppert's Mika runs the gamut from cold-blooded murderess to charming hostess hitting all the stops along the way whilst Jacques Dutronc appropriately turns in a Johnny-One-Note performance. Not one that either Chabrol or Huppert would want to feature prominently on their CVs.
  • avatar

    Irostamore

    The performances, particularly that of Isabelle Huppert, are about the only thing to recommend this film. It certainly looks stylish and polished, but if you give one moment's thought to it, you'll realize that not one bit of the plot makes any sense. To top it off, the denouement's arrival comes out of left field, thereby leaving it far from being credible. This film will certainly not be remembered.
  • avatar

    Downloaded

    The beginning of the film is promising. When Jeanne Pollet(Anna Mouglalis) hear the story of the incident that happen on the day she was born that raise the possibility that she is the daughter of a famous pianist, André Polonski (Jacques Dutrone), she set to find out whether it's true or not, and giving the fact the she plays also the piano that's not such a remote idea. Jeanne meet André and his wife "Mika" Muller(Isabelle Huppert) and their son and on the way uncover the fact that there are some secrets in that family as much in her own.

    O.K. we have seen this before and it has been done in a more interesting way than here.The character of "Mika" Muller is left with out us understanding her motives to her action and she is not interesting enough to care for her. The piano scenes look fake and the whole piano sub-plot doesn't add anything to the character's insight but serve as to make the film longer than it should have been in the first place.

    In short a very disappointing outing from Chabrol, who can do better than this
  • avatar

    Thetalas

    Jeanne (Anna Mouglalis)discovers she may have been swapped accidentally at birth---although everyone denies it and downplays it. Her father if the swap occurred would have been Andre Polanski (Jacques DeTrone) both of them are pianists so it seems to fit--but no one is taking it too seriously except Polanski's wife Mika (Isabelle Huppert). She is not amused.

    We find out as the story unfolds that she drugged Polanski's first wife causing a car wreck in which she died. This dead woman would have been Jeanne's mother if a swap occurred and they look just alike--same receding chin etc...

    Enough of the story. As another reviewer noted this is a yuppiefied upper middle class tour de force with fake piano playing and everyone is a Doctor or in the Arts (or rich).

    My problems with this movie: It is goes nowhere; Jeanne knows Mika drugs and possibly poisons rivals 15 minutes into the movie but in the next hour and half of movie time she eats and drinks everything and agrees to stay at their house for 2 days and drive a car after drinking spiked coffee. Nothing happens!

    The denouement is meaningless... I liked the reviewer who said Detrone is like a zombie---how true--I even thought a zombie who looks a little campy with plucked eyebrows. In the denouement nothing happens...Detrone the Zombie confronts Huppert about the drugging and death of his first wife in a deadpan non-emotional manner and then sort of shrugs and goes to playing the piano after also learning his son and Jeanne have been in an accident that very night. Huppert starts crying and then the movie credits start rolling and it ends.

    Like the reviewer who said Claude Chabrol produces so many films that most of them are chaff.... how true of this one. Chabrol needs to retire. Almost all creative people: authors artists musicians directors etc... peak with a half dozen or so really good works and then burn out. At best endlessly repeating themselves...at worst producing really bad stuff.

    3 or 4 stars out of 10...There are so many better films of this genre-- try The Double Hour.
  • avatar

    Ishnsius

    Huppert may be a bit difficult to swallow here, as difficult as her chocolate. One marvels that she expects others to love and trust her, and that most do. Such marvelous manners! Is that all it takes? But the film turns on her carefully mannered performance and Chabrol's ever present laughter at it. He places sane, emotionally healthy family against its opposite. Phantom daughter Jeanne's home seems all window, always sunlit, while Mika's (Huppert) is a labyrinth, windows downplayed. People make little journeys to a bedroom, to a music room. How on earth does Jeanne come so early to the conclusion she does about Mica's chocolate? The answer is simply that she comes from the sane side of the dichotomy, yet concluding what she does, right or not no matter, is un-sane. Barging in, as she does, in the first place is less than sane. Yet she's a perfect foil for Huppert.

    The piano lessons are wonderful, almost reason alone for seeing the film. If you sit through the closing credits, you'll get to see what Huppert's been knitting.
  • avatar

    Llathidan

    The French either make pro-Marxist films or anti-Marxist films - with a few in between. "Merci pour le chocolat" is the latter of this genre. From the opening credits telling the viewer what music is going to be played and by whom it was who composed you know that you are going to be swathed in middle class pretension. It is an old man's film with an excess of 40's plus people. It is also directed by an old man along with an old crew who have nothing to say about life to the viewer. The plot is not only banal but preposterous. How many films reveal the plot through dialogue only to repeat the same message via flashback some five minutes later? Maybe the director and actors had a low retentive capacity? In truth their is no tenable plot at all. It is riddle with holes like a good piece of French cheese.

    Whether intentional or not, it is a film about the bourgeoisie. At least a third of the film focuses on the piano and the pretentious twaddle espoused in each scene. I concede it has some well framed shots though they couldn't have used a steady-cam in this film - it would have woke them all up! Other than it being a nonsense story, the film allows the upper middle class to parade their values and vanity in a very comfortable Swiss location. A telling line of the film is when Rodolphe Pauly tells Anna Mouglalis that she need not lock her car while in the resort! Oh dear me.

    On the DVD, Miss Huppert makes a comment about shedding a false tear for a scene. Smirking she says: "Like they do in the American Actor's Studio!" I think Miss Huppert and the rest of the cast could learn well from the Actor's Studio.

    If there is one statement that stand out in my mind it is when Huppert remarks 'we are having friends for the weekend and all the servants are away'. No doubt they had all escaped from the mind numbing set lest they be associated with such an appalling film.

    Safety Medical Note. In the film they show a hot water scald being covered with ointment and a bandage. This should never be done. Only cold water should be used.

    Minus 10 marks.
  • avatar

    Hrguig

    I mostly went to see "Merci pour le chocolat" because I had never seen a Claude Chabrol movie, so I have no basis of comparison with his other work.

    The veddy British subtitles called it "Night Cap" which is much less interesting and resonant of the movie's images than the title of the novel it's based on, "The Chocolate Web," which was written by Charlotte Armstrong, but seems very Ruth Rendellian.

    Isabelle Huppert of course is never uninteresting to watch, though this is the second movie in a row where the poor woman had to play a successful, middle-aged career woman with a serious problem, as in "The Piano Teacher (La Pianiste)." Hmm, do the French have a problem with such women, making them so twisted?

    The movie starts out like a family saga of family businesses and secrets; I even thought it was going to do for the chocolate industry what "Les Destinees sentimentales" did for the porcelain industry.

    But gradually the relationships come together into a mystery that doesn't quite pay off but gives a few horror chills in the process.

    (originally written 9/2/2002)
  • avatar

    Went Tyu

    Any rating higher than 2-2.5 stars out of 4 for "Merci pour le chocolat" is sheer critical prejudice in favor of French cinema in general. This dull thriller is subtle to the point of lethargy, relentlessly talky and lacks credibility (at the end Mouglalis agrees to drive Huppert's car, at night, on a twisty mountain road, even though she practically knows that she has just been poisoned with sleeping pills!). At least piano-music aficionados will get an earful...
  • avatar

    Kulafyn

    This is the second adaptation of Charlotte Armstrong by Claude Chabrol for the screen:the first was " la rupture" (1970)(from novel "the balloon man" )and it's really a pity no one cares about it.It's Chabrol's sleeper,and I urge any of his fans to see it.

    "The chocolate" cobweb was not that strong a detective story to begin with.I read it 20 years ago and forgot all about it.The movie promises some good things at first,though,then finally disappoints to a fault.This is a confusing Chabrol movie,mixing elements of the heyday (circa 1969),and a lotta tongue-in-chick stuff coming from the eighties ,the likes of 'poulet au vinaigre",not one particularly memorable work.

    Part of the disappointment comes from the cast:this is a distressingly poor gathering:Jacques Dutronc plays like a zombie,Isabelle Huppert reveals herself a somewhat limited actress,finally rather vulgar .It worked in "une affaire de femme",it does not here.They are not supported by the young couple :both are bland and unremarkable.Actors from the past,say,Stephane Audran or Michel Bouquet(both in "la rupture") were brilliant and contributed to Chabrol's then unique atmosphere.

    The story itself is undistinguished:beginning as some kind of "serious" "la vie est un long fleuve tranquille " (besides,a character hints at Etienne Chatilliez's very funny movie),the movie drags on and on as a laughable psychological drama afterwards.We will not congratulate the young female pianist ,who,after all she learned about her wicked hostess,agrees to drive a car along a dangerous road.

    Because he makes too many movies,Chabrol frequently releases turkeys.One wonder why people who wants to watch one of his movies should choose this one among all his stuff up for grabs.

    It seems that Chabrol's bourgeoise satire has finally given way to leniency.In "la rupture" the first Armstrong adaptation-an average detective story which Chabrol completely transcended-,you should hear Audran say "they have so much money!".Here ,Chabrol has lost his bite,his strength.
  • avatar

    Reighbyra

    I did not like this film at all: The scenario is boring - and after a while, its primitive predictability really gets on your nerves. Even if you give Chabrol a high bonus for not being a beginner, I did not manage to find anything specially interesting on his characterization of Mika neither.
  • avatar

    Onaxan

    Oh boy, oh boy. This movie is something for the lovers of "real" cineatique art. It really does not make ANY sense at all. It is totally boring, especially because of the "anti-climaxes". All people behave more than strange, and unrealistic. Sometimes it feels like sitting in a theatre, because in dialogues the actors tend to face the camera (and therefore the audience) instead of each other. Like I said before, if you are in to those more artful movies, shown in Cannes - go for it. If you are not, better leave this movie alone, because you will be more than disappointed, and in the end know that you have wasted your time - like I did. Two thumbs down... :-(((
  • avatar

    Zololmaran

    This movie is slow paced and the plot does not make much sense, but I really enjoyed watching Isabelle Huppert. She plays this all too perfect Jackie Kennedy / June Cleaver mother/wife. As you watch her performance, you witness more and more problems, each problems increasingly troubling. This apparently normal woman has serious psychological problems.

    The movie starts interestingly enough with Anna Mouglalis investigating the possibility that she was switched at birth and starting to investigate some odd behavior of Isabelle Huppert. But then the investigation halts for no reason and Anna Mouglalis loses her curiosity and caution and becomes a trusting naive idiot. The movie would have been less boring if the investigation had continued instead of just allowing Isabelle Huppert to reveal her problems on her own.

    This could have been a great movie.
  • avatar

    RUsich155

    It's difficult to say what this movie is actually about, it seems to primarily be 'just a bunch of stuff that happened.'

    At first it does appear to be about a possible mix up at the hospital between two babies born on the same day, but as Louise Pollet says "You can tell a boy from a girl." And as the matter is resolved halfway through the movie, it would seem that this was really just a means to introduce the characters to each other.

    Perhaps the real issue is: What is going on in Mika's mind? As manager of Muller's chocolate factory she is well versed in making chocolate based delicacies, including her very own nightcap, which she serves to her husband and stepson each night, and to guests also when the occasion arises. Her husband Andre has a Rohypnol addiction and relies on a regular dose to fall asleep each night, but why does Mika put it in the hot chocolate so that everyone ingests some? Towards the end it's revealed that Mika had a troubled childhood, mainly being neglected and unappreciated by her mother. This provides a basis for her unusual behaviour, although her exact motives remain unclear.
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    Nagor

    Let's get real people. "Nightcap" just ain't that great. After reading some of the critical comments on this film, I decided there was as much projecting going on by reviewers as by the people who cast the film's imagery on the silver screen. Chabrol or no Chabrol, "Nightcap" is awkward, mechanical, scripted, incredible, unbelievable, monotonous, and has an unsatisfying conclusion. Yes, it has an up-side too including Huppert, Huppert, more Huppert and some intriguingly ominous undercurrents, etc. However, there's just too much wrong with execution and too little payoff in the end to make this film a worthwhile subtitle read for most non-French audiences. In short, this is like some really bad early Hitchcock. Recommended only for critics, French film devotees, film fest groupies, Chabrol fans, and the like. (C+)
  • avatar

    Twentyfirstfinger

    Claude Chabrol, a man that has distinguished himself for showing the nasty things people do one another, is at it again. Although "Merci pour le chocolat" is not one of his best contributions to the genre, it has a subtlety that shows he is was still up to his tricks when he made this movie.

    Mika Muller, was married briefly to the man she now calls her husband, the weary-eyed Andre Polonsky, a talented pianist. Mika loves to prepare chocolate, a specialty she has known well, being as she is, connected to the industry. She also loves to lace her brews with a substance that will induce sleeping to whoever she wants to get rid of. Andre's second wife suffered a fatal accident after drinking the chocolate Mika prepared for her, and got her and Andre back together again.

    Mika gets a dislike for Jeanne Pollet, a piano student, who suspects that Andre is her father. This theory is the result of the revelation that Jeanne's mother tells her about having been switched momentarily at birth with Axel, the son of Andre and his late wife. In fact, Jeanne sees a possibility in her theory because, like Andre, she has a passion for the piano, while Axel shows no interest.

    The best thing in the film is Isabelle Huppert, who makes another one of her memorable screen characters come alive. One can see in her face the emotions Mika is experiencing. This actress gives a seamless performance about the evil woman who has gone above and beyond to destroy lives. Anna Mouglalis also made an impression as Jeanne, the young woman who solves the puzzle and is, at the same time, an almost victim of the possessed Mika. Jacques Dutronc plays Andre.

    Another interesting Claude Chabrol film that will please his fans.
  • avatar

    Gosar

    After seeing this film, I wanted to rush to read the Charlotte Armstrong novel The Chocolate Cobweb, not because I was wowed by the source material but rather to try and fathom what on earth she was trying for. Perhaps the fault can be blamed on the adaptation by Caroline Eliacheff and director Claude Chabrol. It's hard to know but what is certain is that this treatment poses more questions than it answers. Mysteries can be fun without having all the motivations explained, since human behaviour is often inexplicable, but here I found I had the same response as in Chabrol's La Ceremonie when Jacqueline Bisset's family are blown away - shock and disbelief. The plot contrivance that leads Anna Mouglalis to the house of Isabelle Huppert and Jacques Dutronc is as tenuous as a spider's web. One hears it and thinks, this can't be all there is?! And whilst Huppert supplies some intriguing duplicitious body language - note the movement of her legs as subtext in the scene where she visits Mouglalis' mother - there is more suggested than actually revealed. It also reminded me of the non-end to Chabrol's L'Enfer, where he dared not provide a conclusion to the unfinished screenplay by Henri-Georges Clouzot. Chabrol's camera occasionally pans past Huppert to make observations, and the edit from a photo of Dutronc's first wife whom Mouglalis resembles (the actress plays her in flashback) to Mouglalis listening to music, her hands covering her face in the identical pose, is amusing. But the climactic revelation at the end has no weight, as arbitrary as Huppert's movement from sitting enveloped by her web-patterned lacework, to a long one take closeup where she cries, to folding into a foetal position. The titular chocolate is a red herring, but I was more disappointed that the implication of incest with her son had no basis. Perhaps one's inclination to project onto the narrative is an indication of it's lack of focus. Mouglalis conveys a strong screen presence, and perhaps because Huppert and Chabrol have worked together to great effect before, one's expectations of her contribution in his films is high. But I can't feel I can criticise Huppert. She seems keyed to do something that the screenplay never brings to fruition. Hoping that a second viewing will make the filmmakers objectives clearer is never a good sign.
  • avatar

    Rainbearer

    This film dares to be different, and I can really respect that. The film is about a young lady who introjects herself into the lives of a nearby family. Why this occurs really isn't all that important. However, once involved, she stumbles on the idea that the wife in this family is drugging their hot cocoa. Throughout the film, we learn that she is actually the second wife--the first one died from a combination of alcohol and a sedative while driving. When the girl discovers this, she combines her knowledge that the lady had put drugs in the cocoa and realizes she probably murdered the first wife.

    All this is really interesting and makes for a thriller getting a score of 8 or 9 on IMDb EXCEPT FOR ONE STUPID PLOT DEVICE--how could this young lady have possibly guessed that the cocoa was drugged? It just doesn't make logical sense and she barely knew the family when she had this suspicion. PLUS, incredibly enough, her own boyfriend boyfriend just happens to work at the lab owned by her own mother so he can test a sample to prove that it was tainted. Oh, and minor miracle of minor miracles, the lab just HAPPENS to be a forensics lab. What an amazing coincidence!!!!! Please--next time, show a little more respect for the intelligence of the audience and don't let silly plot elements like this negatively influence an otherwise excellent film! Wow--and this film came so close to being great.

    Oh, and one other comment. Isabelle Huppert's performance in the film at times appears to be that of a zombie. She stares off into space a lot and when confronted she just sits there. I would have expected that when a murderer is confronted ALONE that there would be a fair likelihood that the murderer would then kill the person who confronted them (or at least make an attempt)--but not this time.