Sweet Life

Wiccan Priestess Margo Adler on the religious stereotypes & sensual pleasures of 'Chocolat'

Beliefnet columnist and NPR correspondent Margot Adler is a Wiccan priestess and author of "Drawing Down Moon," the classic study of Goddess spirituality and contemporary Paganism. Ellen Leventry talked with her about the spiritual side of "Chocolat."

Soon after their arrival in a tranquil French town in the winter of 1959, the mysterious stranger Vianne (Juliette Binoche) and her spirited daughter open a chocolate shop. Soon it becomes clear that Vianne has a talent for seeing her customers' desires and satisfying them with a bon-bon made just for them. Fearing her power to make the townspeople abandon themselves to temptation, the mayor, Comte de Reynaud, tries to run her out of town.

In the movie, the Comte is miserable, in denial that his wife has left him, and he uses religion to make everyone as miserable as he is. Organized religion, the movie seems to say, lends itself to this kind of perversion.


I would put it differently. All religions, including earth-based, or any person involved in a spiritual quest of any kind, are vulnerable to self-delusion, just because it makes one more open to certain things.

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