Director Lasse Hallström's films (The Cider House Rules, What's Eating Gilbert Grape) have usually been equally pointed, warm and sweet. Now, make that semisweet with a touch of raspberry sauce. The battle of the bon bon begins when sexy chocolatiere Juliette Binoche arrives in a small, French countryside town and--much to the chagrin of its ultraconservative mayor Alfred Molina--opens her candy store in the middle of Lent.
The always-classy Judi Dench has a nice turn as a hardened grandma whose heart melts when with her grandson. And (more than halfway through the film) Johnny Depp joins the fray as a river rat looking to do a little cooking of his own with Binoche. Warning: Don't hit the theater hungry before catching this delightful food-featured fable. The mix of great filmmaking and great food will put you in Hershey heaven--or at least makes you wish you were there.