So it wasn't all chocolaty self-indulgence with the Mayans. When you have human sacrifice as the central act of worship, it's unlikely that the preceding sermon is marked by flower-power giddiness.

It's a bizarre touch that the narrator of "Chocolat" specifies at both the beginning and the end of the film that the evil thing that had to be destroyed was the town's "tranquilite." Who wants tranquility? Can't we have more noise, more flashing lights, more TVs in the checkout line, more tinny radios in the gas pumps? Why are there so few blazing tabloids and garish cereal boxes? When I click the remote around the channels, why don't I see more people shouting and arguing? What's wrong with the world? Too much darn tranquility.

Could this cinematic rejection of tranquility possibly be an intentional allusion? The height of ancient Christian mysticism is called "hesychasm," that is, "stillness"--a peace laced with awe at beholding the Almighty. In the presence of that overflowing love, there is a tranquility that passes all understanding.

But that's not what a hip person would want, someone who wants to be free and to defy authority. What you want, buddy, is to pack another slab of chocolate cheesecake onto those rolling hips. C'mon--it's the American way.