Life is confusing for the beautiful 19-year-old Vivian (Agnes Bruckner). She’s an orphan living with a single aunt who seems to harbor resentment towards her. Her cousin is uncomfortably possessive. Her family is forcing her into a union with a much-older man whom she doesn’t love. She found a handsome young artist who wants a relationship with her despite her family’s resistance. Oh, and she’s a werewolf.
Vivian’s legacy and prophecy keep her tied to the “pack, " but her heart longs to explore other people, other relationships, and other lands outside the safe haven formed by the few remaining loup-garoux (werewolves). Chased out of other countries over the centuries, the small pack of half-human werewolves hides in relative obscurity in Romania until a frightening chain of events changes things forever.
The young woman’s struggle is symbolized by her job at a chocolate shop. While she hides the primitive, savage urges that run through her blood line, she performs the highly cultivated, aesthetically pleasing function of creating chocolate confections. The film’s title “Blood and Chocolate" comes from Hermann Hesse’s book “Steppenwolf, " which contains the passage, “In fear I hurried this way and that. I had the taste of blood and chocolate in my mouth, the one as hateful as the other. "
Vivian fears the taste of blood – even though she attends ritualistic feeding frenzies of other werewolves merely to join in for the thrilling run – and longs for the refined taste of chocolate. Even so, she fears this, too, as assimilating with other humans comes with a price: Anyone who leaves the pack, loses its protection. When she develops feelings for Aiden (Hugh Dancy), a graphic artist with a fascination for werewolves, their love poses a threat to the privacy and purity of the pack.
Complicating her situation even further is the fact that as a child, Vivian witnessed her family’s murder while living in America away from the other werewolves. Since then, she stayed with relatives in Romania, and tried to come to terms with her place as the next mate for Gabriel (Olivier Martinez), the apparently ageless and completely controlling leader of the werewolves.
Aiden has his own family problems. A sensitive artist, he also was forced to accept his inner animal. When threatened by his father, Aiden defended himself a little too well and is now a man without a home or family, for if he returns, his father will kill him. Therefore, he publishes his graphic novels under a pen name (just his initials) and stays on the run.
Those three commonalities – running for freedom, hiding an inner beast, and obsessing about werewolves – bring the couple together in a supernatural, star-crossed lovers scenario highlighted by a deliriously happy date movie montage sandwiched between a suspenseful beginning and ending more in keeping with a fantasy/horror movie.
Based on the supernatural romance novel by Annette Curtis Klause and directed by Katja Von Garnier, the film “Blood and Chocolate" provides an interesting story surrounded by forgettable dialogue, but memorable special effects. The attractive half-humans make shape shifting so breathtakingly beautiful, you’ll want to try it yourself.
Copyright 2007 Leslie Halpern
For more movie news and reviews visit: http://home.cfl.rr.com/lesliehalpern/leslie_halpern.htm Central Florida entertainment writer Leslie Halpern wrote the book “Reel Romance. The Lovers’ Guide to the 100 Best Date Movies" (Taylor Trade Publishing), which reviews date movies and suggests romantic ideas inspired by these films. She is also the author of “Dreams on Film: The Cinematic Struggle Between Art and Science" (McFarland & Company), an analysis of representations of sleeping and dreaming in more than 125 movies.