Like Water for Chocolate (Spanish: Como agua para chocolate) is a popular novel published in 1989 by first-time Mexican novelist Laura Esquivel. The film is an adaptation of this novel and I have to point out that the novel is far superior to the film. (Also note that this novel contains Mexican recipes).
This is not your conventional romance film. Some events require the viewer to suspend disbelief otherwise it will be hard to enjoy it. Naturally it is impossible for a film to adapt everything described in the book however there are some events that are rushed through without giving explanation for it. Often a lot of time has passed in between events but the film does not indicate clearly that it has which could lead to some confusion.
The premise is that main character Tita is denied marriage with Pedro because the oldest daughter of Mama Elena has not married yet and Elena wants the youngest daughter to take care of her now and when she gets older and is not allowed marriage. She offers Pedro her other daughter Rosaura instead and he the fool that he is accepts. Why does he accept when it is clearly stated by him that he loves Tita and only Tita? Because in his infinite stupidity he thinks it will allow him to be close to her. Tita is in tears which seep through in the food she is preparing and everyone who consumed her food can taste her sadness. This is the first time we learn the fact that Tita can express her emotions through the food she prepares. And throughout the film this will lead to some very interesting and amusing scenes. From this you could take that the melodrama is high in this film. But actually the approach overall was light and with a lot of sense of humour. Horrible things happen in the film on screen and off but you won't get the chance to linger on them too long except maybe the relationships of Tita and the other characters. There will be no denying that the mother is selfish and evil. Of course anybody can understand a daughter being loyal to her mother even if she is mean and cruel but still at times you will wonder why she would accept all the abuse and not flee and elope with her beloved Pedro. But all of it can't be explained rationally since this is the matter of the heart. And Tita's heart only beats for Pedro. Sigh.
|Rose Petal Quail|
Like I said this is not your conventional romance drama. A lot is happening on and off screen and the film is filled with symbolism. So there is more to it than meets the eye. Which makes this a movie that could or should be seen multiple times. From the way it is told it is almost required too since some bits went by so fast that I am sure of it that I have overlooked some essential elements. But even then it is the delicious food and the way it is presented that will capture your attention since it can be very sensual and erotic.
There are many things in this film that will make you scratch your head but darned there is something magical about this film. It will be worth your time.