One of the main characters in the film, the mayor, desires to run a city based on his own understanding of morality and religious responsibility. He seeks perfection with vigor and zest.
The antithesis character of the mayor is Vianne (played by Binoche), a woman of some “mystery” who moves to the small town run by the mayor, with the intention of opening a chocolate shop. That she moves to this small town during Lent is no accident.
The film is not a “Christian” film per se, but it does have some fascinating parallels with the Christian story.
Today, in my Introduction to the Christian Faith class, we discussed this film (which our class watched Tuesday night) in great detail.
It’s amazing how much students come alive when talking about stories. They were engaged in ethical discourse without realizing it was “ethical discourse.” That’s what stories do to us. They draw us in because they engage our whole person—our hopes, dreams, fears, and memory—leaving us different. People who rarely talk in this kind of setting weighed on film’s commentary about faith, sex, marriage, parenting, discipline, beauty, and romance.
Bono is often quoted for saying, “Religion is what happens when God leaves.” I pray that the students under my care this semester become the kind of people who bear all kinds of healthy fruit into this starving world. I hope they are spiritually attuned to the presence of God in their lives and the lives of others.