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Film / Chocolate

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Unfortunately, this is one conflict that isn't gonna be solved with diplomacy.

A 2008 Thai film about an autistic girl who goes after her ailing mother's debtors to pay for her chemotherapy.

A Thai woman falls in love with a Japanese gangster, but they part ways after her employers disapprove... with violence. A few months after the split, she gives birth to Zen, a girl with autism. Said autism allows Zen to master martial arts moves by watching them. She also enjoys chocolate, thus the title.

When Zen's in her teenage years, her mother gets cancer and needs money for treatment. Zen's friend (and occasional caretaker) Moom finds a black book listing everyone who owed her mother money from her days as an enforcer. They head out to reclaim it... with violence.

Unfortunately, those people are with the same criminals that split up Zen's parents, and they're still hungry for revenge...


(For the 2000 film about a chocolaterie in a French village, see Chocolat.)

This movie provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Zen. Zin was a Dark Action Girl in the backstory, or possibly a Dragon Lady.
  • Agony of the Feet: During Zin's acrimonious departure at the start of the film, her boss shoots his own big toe off to show Zin just what she's done to him. He later cuts one of Zin's toes off when he finds out she's still contacting her yakuza boyfriend.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Zen's disorder is never named, but it's pretty clearly a form of autism. Thomas's disorder, which is quite wrongly credited as "epilepsy", looks vaguely like a full body form of Tourette syndrome.
  • Anti-Hero: Zen and Moom have a good cause... but they're basically collecting money owed to the mob for their own personal use.
  • Artistic License – Biology:
    • Autism tends to impair motor skills. Even although many autistic people are good in either fine or gross motor skills, they are often defficient in the other. Martial arts usually requires of both, so it would be unrealistic (though admittedly not 100% impossible) to expect from an autistic girl to be a fighting savant.
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    • Same with Tourette's. Thomas's chronic spasms would make it very hard for him to learn and/or train martial arts, not to mention an incredibly complex one as it is capoeira. It is Hand Waved in the film because it's never explicitly stated that his disorder is Tourette's (he's even credited as "Epileptic Boxer", which is another level of Artistic License - Biology altogether, as epilepsy is a completely different thing).
  • Badass Family: Dad's a (very good) gangster. Mom... had moves before the cancer. Their kid is unstoppable.
  • Big Damn Heroes: A few examples. The most hilarious (and overt) being Moom saving the day by... scaring away the flies using an electric flyswatter, thus allowing Zen to mop the floor with the people she's extorting money from.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Zen's mother is killed by the Big Bad. However, by this point, Zen has defeated everyone who stood against them... so her father doesn't have to leave again, and she is reunited with him.
  • The Blade Always Lands Pointy End In:
    • Played straight many times in the butcher shop fight, but notably subverted at one point. Zen deflects a thrown knife at a mook who was already victim to this trope. You see his face and reaction when he's hit... then the camera pans downward and it turns out it merely slapped him with the side of the blade.
    • Earlier in the same fight, the blade didn't land pointy end in on a chain link barricade, but did when it bounced off and hit the mook who threw it...
  • Chekhov's Gun: "Flies!"
  • Combat Parkour: Zen, a small Thai autistic girl whose Disability Superpower is to absorb martial arts from movies and TV shows. The entire movie is her beating up hundreds of people larger than her with Muay Thai. The actress supposedly spent 2 years learning enough muay thai to make it look realistic. The film handled her smaller size well - she uses it to her advantage by taking the fight into narrow spaces where her opponents have trouble moving. She and her opponents also employ combat parkour in places when evading kicks and bouncing around the scenes.
  • Confusion Fu: Zen's most dangerous enemy is Thomas, a boy with Tourette's. Not only he is skilled, his tics make it almost impossible for her to read his moves.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Zen goes through mooks like it's nothing, but has some difficulty with Thomas.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Autism, as well as Tourette's apparently.
  • Cute Bruiser: Zen of course.
  • Dance Battler: Not easy to call "dance" to Thomas's spastic fighting style, but he actually fights with an adapted form of Capoeira.
  • Disability Superpower: Zen is autistic... which gives her almost superhuman senses. Same for Thomas, who has some sort of Tourette which makes him physically unpredictable.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: The film features an animated dream sequence which moves Zen to act.
  • Double Knockout: Zen and Thomas feature one at the final moments of the fight when they both try and land a martelo do chao at once.
  • The Dragon: Thomas.
  • Evil Counterpart: Thomas counts as one to Zen.
  • Funny Bruce Lee Noises: Zen makes these when she's enjoying herself. Stands to reason since she watched a lot of Bruce Lee – although we only see her watch his instruction videos, where he may have skipped the noises.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Zen uses them frequently.
  • Hilarious Outtakes: A weird breed, as they're actually footage of on-set injuries.
  • Hollywood Tourette's: Fortunately averted. Thomas barely talks in the film, but he never swears as classically expected from a character with Tourette's.
  • I Know Mortal Kombat: Zen primarily learns martial arts watching Bruce Lee and Tony Jaa movies. Apparently including training videos, like in the clip that shows her absorbing every movement. Additionally there is a muay thai class training near her house that she seems to audit without their knowledge.
  • Important Haircut: Zen cuts off her beautiful long hair after she finds out her mother is going bald from chemotherapy. She had pulled off her mother's wig and, in a series of flashbacks to times she'd played with her mother's hair, thought she'd torn off her mom's real hair. She was apparently acting out because of the trauma.
  • Informed Attribute: Thomas is credited as the "Epileptic Boxer", which is quite misguided considering he is neither a boxer nor epileptic.
  • It's Not You, It's My Enemies: The reason Zen's parents aren't together. If they so much as communicate in a letter, it angers the Big Bad.
  • Kick the Dog: Number Eight on Zen, in her face, as she tries to revive her mortally-wounded mother.
  • Kung Fu-Proof Mook: A literal example in Thomas, who proves to be a match for Zen precisely because he is a disabled fighter too. Even after she finds the way to land some hard strikes on him, he manages to pull a draw and take her out of action (although, to be fair, she was already worn due to an earlier fight against bunch of mooks).
  • Little Miss Badass / Badass Adorable
  • Loan Shark: Zen and Moom, are, effectively, acting as enforcers for the mob's loans and keeping the money.
  • Maligned Mixed Marriage: Less because it's a marriage between a Japanese man and a Thai woman, more because it's between a yakuza and a Thai enforcer.
  • Martial Arts Movie: Duh.
  • Mixed Ancestry: See above.
  • Mood Whiplash: The penultimate scene consists of Zen's mother dying before her eyes and Zen trying to wake her up with her father watching. The last scene is Zen calmly walking with her father in broad daylight, holding a paper windmill.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Zen and Moom collecting debts is essentially stealing from the mob, which puts them back on Number Eight's radar.
  • Non-Action Guy: Moom qualifies, while he occasionally contributes in fight scenes, for the most part he simply keeps out of Zen's way.
  • Non-Indicative Title: Zen does enjoy chocolate, and it shows up in several scenes, however it's never a plot point and a very random choice for a title.
  • One-Word Title: It's named Chocolate because the main character likes the stuff.
  • Pac-Man Fever: Zen's playing a PS2 with a Super Famicom controller at one point.
  • Power Copying: Zen shows it (with a lot of effort, due to her opponent's body language being difficult to read) during her battle against Thomas. She soon adopts some capoeira approach to match his style and manages to finish him with a mariposa kick while dodging a sweep.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: The Thai mob seems to employ a QMS of transvestites.
  • Reality Ensues: Played straight, then subverted. Mooks swarm into the room with katanas drawn, and it looks like it's going to be an epic sword fight between them and Zen's father, until he pulls a gun and empties into their ranks. For the subversion, he grabs a blade of his own and fights the rest traditionally.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: Zen's Waif-Fu moves look like they shouldn't pack that much weight... until you see the Hilarious Outtakes and you see that when her blows hit the stuntmen, they do some serious damage.
  • Sweet Tooth: Zen, it's why the movie is named what it's named.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Zen loves chocolate. At one point the gangsters use it against her.
  • Trivial Title: The movie is about an autistic girl beating people up to pay for her mother's chemotherapy. She also happens to like chocolate, though that doesn't affect the plot in the slightest aside from drama.
  • Waif-Fu: Done well for the most part. Zen has to build up momentum be able to knock back her opponents more than a few inches. See Reality Is Unrealistic.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Moom in the very final scene, especially since he was pretty badly wounded. Also, Thomas's fate is unrevealed.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Zen hates flies.
  • Yakuza: Zen's dad Masashi.


Example of: