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330 of 336 found the following review helpful:
Where's the Rest of the Film? Mar 08, 2004
The movie on its own (like the book) is imaginative and very good and -- at least with the Spanish language soundtrack -- I would rate it between four and five stars. I have only given the DVD two stars, however, (and that is being generous), because approximately one-sixth of the film (18 of its original 123 minutes) has been inexplicably cut, leaving a sadly truncated 105-minute version. It is unclear why Buena Vista Home Entertainment chose to delete nearly a sixth of the film, but even if they believed that a shorter version would appeal to a wider audience (maybe, maybe not), it is unforgivable that they did not include the missing footage as "deleted scenes" so that those who wanted to see the entire film would be able to do so. This is simply too big a cut for buyers to accept (even at this rather attractive price). Rather than pay for a film that has been so badly butchered (the only worse case I know of is the Region 2 (European) version of "The Big Country," from which nearly an hour was cut, for reasons no one can explain), I will avoid buying this film on DVD until Buena Vista provides a "Collector's" or "Director's Cut" version that restores the film -- one way or another -- to its full original length.
135 of 144 found the following review helpful:
THE MAGICAL AND MYSTICAL PROPERTIES OF FOOD... Jul 14, 2002
This film is a feast for the eyes. Based upon the best selling novela of the same name by Laura Esquivel, who also wrote the screenplay, the film successfully captures this tale of forbidden love. Well directed by Laura Esquivel's husband, Alfonso Arau (The Magnificent Ambersons, A Walk In the Clouds), the cast delivers wonderful performances in this mystical tale.
During the early twentieth century in Mexico, just south of the border, a girl catches the eye of boy. A number of years later, the boy, Pedro, now a young man, speaks to the girl, Tita, now a young woman, and declares his heartfelt, passionate love for her. Pedro (Marco Leonardi) wants Tita (Lumi Cavazos) to marry him.
He and his father meet with Tita's mother, Elena (Regina Torne), and ask if she would give her consent to a union between Pedro and Tita, Elena's youngest daughter. Elena forbids such a marriage to take place, as it is an unbroken family tradition that the youngest daughter remain single, so that she may take care of her mother until the mother dies. Such is the destiny of Tita. Elena, instead, cruelly offers to have her oldest daughter, Rosaura (Yareli Arizmendi), marry Pedro.
Surprisingly, Pedro agrees to marry Rosaura, his twisted logic being that this is the only way he can be close to Tita. Thus, begins an untenable situation. Tita, forced by her selfish, harridan of a mother to prepare the wedding feast for Rosaura and Pedro, begins a lifelong sublimation of her passion and emotions with food. Its mystical properties become self evident in the expert hands of Tita, as she becomes a superlative cook. She has the ability to imbue the food that she prepares with the fervor and feelings, both good and bad, that she dare not express. Her love, her pain, her passion is evident in every delightful and delicious dish that she creates, and her feelings manifest themselves in those who ingest her meals.
This is a glorious film about love, filled with mystical, magical, and supernatural portents. Sensual and evocative, it details the road that Tita and Pedro must travel before their journey is complete. Wonderfully acted and beautifully told, theirs is a story that will long linger in the mind of the viewer. Awash in amber tones, the brilliant cinematography contributes to the mystical properties of this film. Sumptuous and surreal, it is a feast for the eyes and not to be missed. Bravo!
The DVD offers clear visuals and great sound. It does not offer much in the way of special features. Watch it in the original Spanish with English subtitles in order to retain the intended flavor of this superlative film.
46 of 49 found the following review helpful:
Mas profundo que las palabras Dec 19, 1999
By fawn schoenberg
"Como agua para chocolate" truly takes Laura Esquivel's emotional and magical story and brings it to life. Taking the romance of "Romeo and Juliet" and combining it with the magic from "Cinderella", "Como agua para chocolate" includes 'ingredients' for almost any viewer. With the film's predominantly female cast along with the kitchen as the main setting, many often assume that this film only pleases a female audience. However, anyone searching for a multisensory experience. in which taste, smell and touch seem to become possible, should rent this movie. Even those who are unable to understand the words, whether they be in english or spanish, will never feel left out during this film. The director's interpretation of color, ilumination and angles, along with the actors' facial expressions and body language, is what truly make this film magical. Esquivel succeeds in her novel by making a reader savor each one of her words and descriptions, and this adaptation, even without the words, allows its audience to savor and experience the same themes of unconditional love, struggle and liberation. Scenes of passion and frustration, of sadness and sheer relief, only add to the film's ability to reach out and become a story of our very own. From the first moment when the narrator talks to us while peeling an onion, we are invited into Tita's kitchen and asked to join this family on a journey. The only problem is being able to leave Mama Elena's ranch at the end of the film and return to 'reality.' "Como agua para chocolate" is truly HOT, and anyone who finishes this film without being entertained as well as emotionally satisfied has not taken in the whole experience that this film has to offer.
29 of 30 found the following review helpful:
Who Needs Chocolate As An Aphrodisiac...... Apr 25, 2000
By Ms. S. K. Williams
.....if you can get the same amount of passion as these two lovers.
I absolutely adore this sensual, quirky romantic comedy drama about forbidden love and family ties set in early twentieth century Mexico.
When Tita, the youngest of three daughters, falls in love with Pedro, a local lad, it seems only right that the two should marry and live happily ever after. But Tita's strict and cold-hearted mother has other ideas; according to a family tradition the youngest daughter in the family must stay at home and take care of her mother until she dies and thus making marriage at the bottom of the list of priorities. Determined to stick to it, Tita's mother forbids the marriage and instead offers the hand of her eldest daughter to Pedro. Believing that through marrying her sister it will mean remaining close to Tita, Pedro consents without fully realising the strain on the family this move will involve....
This film maintains it's charm, passion and wit all the way through and there are also really good performances from everyone especially Lumi Cavazos as the sexually frustrated heroine Tita.
I confess to being shocked by all the nudity but then in the Latin countries nudity is no big deal and it is not at all gratuitous - so if you're hiring for titilation then you'll be disappointed
Just in case you're confused by the seemingly nonsensical title it translates into "Como Agua Para Chocolate" in Spanish and is a South American idiom used to describe someone who is sexually frustrated. And there is certainly plenty of that here.....
22 of 23 found the following review helpful:
Wonderful Mexican movie May 05, 1999
When I was in college, I minored in Spanish, and as part of one of my Spanish courses, I had to see the movie "Como agua para chocolate" or "Like water for chocolate" (though I'll call it by its Spanish title). After seeing it, I realized it was a wonderful movie.
"Como agua para chocolate" is a film about Tia, a Mexican girl who wants to marry a boy named Pedro. Her only problem -- and it's a bad one -- is her mother, Mama Elena. Mama Elena upholds an old family tradition where the youngest daughter is to stay home and take care of her mother. It's a good idea in theory, but in practice somebody obviously failed to consider what might happen to the youngest daughter when the mother dies. Because Mama Elena insists that Pedro marry Rosaura and not Tita, Pedro does marry Rosaura -- but only to be near Tita. Tita has to cook the wedding feast, and her tears fall into the batter of the wedding cake. And the magic begins.
The two primary actresses are excellent. I really wanted Tita to find happiness -- especially with Pedro. As for Mama Elena, I hated her enough to want to strangle her. Kudos to the actress who played her for creating such a despicable part. The actor who played Pedro was acceptable, but he didn't have that much to do. Of course, it is a film where women are the most important characters, so maybe that's why the actor didn't have much to do.
I'm not a food lover, but I am a romantic, and I recommend "Como agua para chocolate" for those who are learning Spanish, for romantics, and for food lovers.
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