Better Than Chocolate

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I wasn’t sure what to expect from this movie, but I found it surprisingly refreshing and extremely funny. There are characters all over the orientation spectrum, from gays, lesbians and transgenders to straight and one very special “omnisexual”, who was hilarious. Maggie (Karyn Dwyer) has recently moved out on her own to the big city and has also come out of the closet.  She has a community of friends, works at a lesbian book shop and is just starting a relationship with a pretty girl she meets.  But everything is thrown for a loop when the family, who don’t know her secret, unexpectedly come to visit.  I am a straight conservative married woman, just for the record, and I really liked this movie. The story was light and engaging, while at the same time dealing with the realities of life when you don’t fit the society-approved mold. It was a celebration of love in all its forms, joyful, hopeful and sometimes painful.

I really enjoyed seeing the accepting nature of the LGBT community, where anything goes and you can let your true self out to play without fear of rejection. But oddly enough, just as that thought crossed my mind, a butch lesbian took violent exception to a transgender character using the ladies room, giving proof to the sad fact that prejudice isn’t confined to any one issue or group. The tragic aspect of the story is beautifully balanced with unexpected humor, with the paint throwing scene and a character discovering the joys of vibrators springing to mind. Of course, clichés are present, such as the repressed woman wearing a string of pearls with absolutely everything and occasionally clutching them in horror, but they were kept to a minimum. The love scenes were tasteful and dreamily romantic, in no way tawdry or exploitative. I laughed myself sick over the “I’m not a [insert expletive here] drag queen” song; it was witty and understated while tapping into something serious. Really lovely, enlightening and thought provoking, I give this beautiful film a solid four stars. – BETHANY

For more on Better Than Chocolate, visit the Internet Movie Database

                             Kim (Christina Cox) and Maggie (Karyn Dwyer).

Whatever else you may think about them, gay clubs always have the best floor shows.

              Transgender woman Judy (Peter Outerbridge) and Carla (Marya Delver).

                  Ann-Marie MacDonald as bookstore owner Frances.

                                   Judy and Maggie’s mother, Lila (Wendy Crewson).  “I read a study and after the age of forty a woman’s chances of having sex are diminished by eighty percent. SO, after fifty, God help you. And since I probably won’t be having sex again, chocolate is the only pleasure left for me.”

               Kim (Christina Cox).

                                                                          “Jesus loves you!” “Oh, thank you.  So, do you think we’ve gotten “Die, dyke, die” off the sidewalk?”

 

Photos courtesy of British Columbia Film, CITY-TV, Government of British Columbia Film Incentive BC Program, The Harold Greenberg Fund, The Movie Network, Rave Film Rogers Telefund, Téléfilm Canada, WIC Entertainment and Trimark Home Video (unless otherwise credited in clickable form)

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