Two movies I find deeply engaging are Chocolat and Babette’s Feast. They are not the same and yet they have some similarities in that relationships and love win out. In Chocolat Vianne fights the attitude of a whole town in France that is locked into a puritanical observation of the ancient privations of Lent. Vianne wins the people, and eventually her main detractors, by showing interest in the people, by offering hospitality, entertaining them, showing them love, most especially the unloved and rejected. Vianne is a soul friend, a confidant, a counsellor, a change agent.
I particularly love the dinner scene because it shows some of the people joining together and enjoying a sumptuous feast, they love its flavour, texture, its combinations, it is a scene not of lust, but of joy, true unadulterated joy, a setting free. And that is Chocolat, it is a series of people being set free. In the end Vianne herself is set free of her own struggle, dealing with the unresolved grief of her mother’s death. You can access the movie as just a whimsical jaunt, but you can go deeper and access the idea that entertaining the other, attending to the other, actually changes the world, one relationship at a time.