Films have formulas and rules, but how well do films follow those formulas? What about Lesbian Romance films, do they follows a strict formula and a set of rules?
Better than Chocolate is about young lesbians Maggie & Kim and Maggie's friends and family.
The following analysis may contain spoilers for
BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE (1999)
"Do you actually think you're in love? Well?" ~ Maggie's Mum.
RULE #1 - A Coming Out Story
Maggie (Karyn Dwyer) is out as a lesbian, but not out to her family. She dresses in a pseudo-masculine manner, but has long flowing hair. Maggie drinks beer, but Maggie's mum thinks wine is much more lady-like. The film is primarily from her point of view, especially at the beginning, but grows to tell the stories of a few of the secondary characters along the way.
Both main characters get naked a number of times, mostly for sex scenes.
RULE #3 - Unsatisfied
Maggie starts the film single and out, no boyfriend (although her mother mentions a boy she was seeing in high school, but he was gay.) She has however dropped out of college where she was studying to be a lawyer, obviously dissatisfied with that career path, and is budding window display artist or writer.
RULE #4 - Enter the Lesbian
Kim (Christina Cox) is short-haired (but does wear a hairpin that totally cutes it out), out, has more masculine facial features and, like Maggie, dresses in a pseudo-masculine manner. Kim lives in a van and travels - and is thus an outsider. She is more voluptuous than Maggie, but that's splitting hairs.
RULE #5 - Just Good Friends
RULE #6 - Rejection By Friends and Family
Tony, the owner of the store next door to the gay bookshop Maggie works at doesn't like homosexual displays of affection in his cafe and fears the blow-back from homophobic attacks. Otherwise he seems to accept lesbians.
RULE #7 - Will They, Won't They/On Again, Off Again
RULE #8 - Redemption/Acceptance
Maggie's mother tells Maggie to go after Kim and Tony doesn't seem to upset that his shop has blown up.
Gives many of the characters - especially the main character and main couple a happily ever after.
RULE #10 - No Sequels
- Rules that are followed in this film: 2, 4, 9, 10.
- Rules that are partially followed, or not clear, in this film: 1, 3, 6, 8.
- Rules that are not followed in this film: 5, 7.