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Film Review

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

 

Like Water for Chocolate
Directed by Alfonso Arau
Buena Vista Home Entertainment 02/93 DVD/VHS Feature Film
R - sexuality

Like Water For Chocolate is a Mexican film directed by Alfonso Arau based on a novel by Laura Esquivel. The film celebrates in most unusual and impressive ways both the magic and the mystery of love.

Mama Elena, a widow, runs a ranch in Mexico while raising three daughters. Tita, the youngest, is forced by family tradition to remain single so she can take care of her mother in old age. Tita grows up under the guidance of the family's cook. This wise old woman teaches her all she has to know about the interplay between appetites and passion.

When Pedro falls in love with Tita and asks for her hand in marriage, Mama Elena refuses and offers instead her eldest daughter. Pedro accepts since it is the only way he can remain close to the one true love of his life. While Tita is preparing the wedding cake, her tears fall into the batter. At the reception all those who eat the cake are overcome with fits of crying.

Like Water For Chocolate is a totally enchanting film that has a dreamlike quality to it. Lumi Cavazos is alluring as Tita, the caged bird whose repressed feelings find expression in her cooking. Equally impressive is Claudette Maille as her other sister Gertrudis. Tita's recipe for quail in a rose petal sauce sends this plucky sister into a sexual frenzy. She escapes the restrictive confines of the ranch by joining a band of revolutionaries.

Ordinary events and decisions are colored by deep passions and past resentments in this beguiling film. Eventually Tita must decide whether to marry a doctor who treated her with loving kindness after her nervous breakdown. Her decision is altered when she realizes that Pedro is still infatuated with her. The ending of Like Water For Chocolate fits right in with all the surprises that have preceded it. The link between a sensuous appreciation for food and the sensual delights of the flesh keeps this film lingering in the mind.

 

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Reviews and database copyright 1970 2012
by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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