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Better Than Chocolate (1999)

Wendy Crewson , Karyn Dwyer , Anne Wheeler  |  Unrated |  DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (332 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Wendy Crewson, Karyn Dwyer, Christina Cox, Ann-Marie MacDonald, Marya Delver
  • Directors: Anne Wheeler
  • Writers: Peggy Thompson
  • Producers: Christopher Adkins, Peggy Thompson, Rosamond Norbury, Sharon McGowan, Wolfram Tichy
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Letterboxed, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: December 28, 1999
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (332 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00002CGGH
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,945 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Better Than Chocolate" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Karen Dwyer, Christina Cox. Touching and humorous story of two women in love and their life struggles together. 1999/color/102 min/R/fullscreen.

Many lesbian movies are long on charm and short on production values; Better Than Chocolate has a solid dose of both and steamy sex scenes to boot. Our heroine Maggie (Karyn Dwyer), a clerk at a lesbian bookstore, meets footloose butch Kim (Christina Cox) and, after Kim's van is towed away, they move in together. Unfortunately for their romantic bliss, Maggie's mother, Lila (Wendy Crewson), and teenage brother move in that very evening thanks to Lila's impending divorce. But what really complicates matters is that Maggie can't bring herself to come out to her mother; even when she tries, Lila steamrolls through the conversation, like she knows what's coming and doesn't want to hear it. Interwoven with this is the struggle of Judy (Peter Outerbridge), a male-to-female transsexual who's in love with the bookstore's owner, Frances (Ann-Marie MacDonald), who's freaking out because customs officers are holding a list of books at the border that they claim are obscene. The overlapping plots are deftly juggled, the personal and political are compellingly interwoven, and, most satisfying of all, the characters have problems that aren't going to be easily resolved. A handful of candy-colored lip-synching musical numbers give the movie some flash and the sex scenes give the movie some heat, but it's the elements of sorrow and ambiguity that really make the joy in Better Than Chocolate something to savor. --Bret Fetzer

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
174 of 185 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Screwball romance meets '90's lesbian chic December 27, 1999
By Tcaalaw
This movie will seem very familiar to most long-time movie watchers as it is in many ways a remake of the vintage screwball comedies of the early '30's but with a decidedly '90's twist.
The heroine of the film is Maggie, a young woman who has dropped out of university to try and find herself as an artist. She also supplements her income from painting by working at a bookstore which serves the LesBiGayT (Lesbian-Bisexual-Gay-Transsexual) community of a small British Columbian town.
Maggie's life is greatly complicated when, on the same day, she begins to fall in love with an itinerant painter named Kim, and she receives word that her mother and teenage brother are going to be coming to town to stay with her. This is particularly problematic because Maggie hasn't disclosed her sexual orientation to her family.
A certain amount of predictable hijinks ensue as Maggie tries to keep her family from deducing the truth about her relationship with Kim. She also, of course, must keep them from figuring out that anything is "out-of-place" about her friends and co-workers. As well, there are several sub-plots introduced to give the film more political relevancy, including Canada's strict censorship laws and the subject of anti-transsexual discrimination in the LesBiGayT community, however they are not especially well developed.
In conclusion, this film is very funny at some points, but moves very predictably at others. It is a rather light-hearted take on lesbian romance and coming-out issues, but the sub-plots occasionally weigh it down. Since most of the sub-plots contained enough potential to be films of their own, the film-makers could have dropped some of them from this picture to spend more time exploring Maggie and Kim's relationship. That said, I would recommend this film to anyone who enjoys romantic comedies and has an open mind.
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91 of 99 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars No Surprises Here... August 15, 2003
There's no shortage of mediocre gay/lesbian movies out these days, in which we follow the trials and tribulations of a group of friends (gay, lesbian, maybe an occasional trans) as they fall in and out of love and do a lot of dancing. "Better than Chocolate" is another one of those movies and it's okay for what it is, but I can't help wishing these movies would aim just a little bit higher.
As with most films in this genre, there's the central love story, here a sort of instant-fall-in-love scenario between two women, both of whom are essentially nice, attractive, etc. The "character flaw" of one is that she lives on the road and always leaves when the going gets tough; the other one's "flaw" is that she hasn't told her mother that she's gay, yet, and hasn't really committed to her identity as a lesbian. So, they fall in love, the mother comes to stay with her daughter, hijinks ensue. There are a few subplots tossed in, the most interesting of which centers around the one transgender character who is hoping (in vain) that her parents have finally accepted her.
The good things about this movie? Well, for one thing, there are a couple of truly erotic scenes between the two main characters, and well done erotica is a rarity in ANY genre of film. Also, there are a couple of song/dance routines that are performed by the main characters that are truly nifty. As a matter of fact, I wish they'd done more of that and less of the soap-opera-y stuff.
Perhaps the biggest flaw in the film is just how predictable it all is. You know who's going to end up together, you know that the mother will eventually find out the truth and, after a bit of shell-shock, will accept her daughter as a lesbian, etc. There are no surprises.
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62 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining February 1, 2003
BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE is a must see movie in my opinion. It centers around Maggie, and her family and friends. Maggie is a lesbian living away from home, and her mom and brother. One night after almost being attacked, she encounters Kim. A few days later she runs into Kim again and they fall for each other. It was very sudden how they got together, within a few weeks saying that they were in love. Maggie's mother Lily and her brother come and live with Maggie, which creates a problem for her. Maggie is not out to her mother and wants to live her life and still maintain to keep her sexuality a secret. She works in a bookstore with Francis and Carla, and their transgendered friend Judy is often around. The story is enriched because it involves many stories which fold together. Lily redefining herself and discovering herself again, Judy finding love with long time crush Frances, Maggie's brother beginning a relationship with Carla, and more. One of the subplots centers around censorship, which was a well used plot in the movie. There is some great scenes, such as the erotic scene with body painting, and Maggie making a statement against censorship by posing nude in the bookstore. Overall a well acted movie, perhaps a bit convinient, but overall entertaining in the end.
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53 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better Than Chocolate between... February 23, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
I give this movie five out of five stars. Although it moves rather quickly you can't help being hook. Twenty minutes of the movie has past and Maggie, 19, not-quite-out, college dropout, and working at Ten Percent bookstore (no it's not a discount store) meets Kim, a nomadic artist, butch but sweet and romance starts. There's a scene that will leave many people exploring the arts.
Within the first twenty minutes, Maggie meets and falls in love with vivacious Kim, helps her conservative lesbian boss fight customs who seem to be trying to put her out of business. Oh, don't forget Maggie has to find a place to live, because her newly divorce mother, Lila is moving in with her along with sibling, Paul, neither who know that Maggie's been living in a bookstore since she quite law school, and she's gay!
Couple this with her omisexual co-worker, and transgender friend, Judy, who has love and parent issues of her/his own, and you've got a great story.
I almost cracked up when Lila goes..."Kim do you have a boyfriend?" and Kim replies, "No...Funny that!" Everyone seems to be in on the joke, but Lila who replies, "What's wrong with boys?" Maggie's fighting off an uncontrollable need for laughter and the audience does too. Wendy Crewson as Lila is an added addition to this romantic comedy.
All said in done, I wonder what it's like to live in that world. Definitely never a dull experience. This is a must see regardless of your lifestyle.
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