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BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE

Canada, 1998 (MIFF 1999, International Panorama)

Director: Anne Wheeler

Walking home from a pleasant evening at 'Cat's Ass', a local lesbian club, Maggie finds herself bailed up by a gang of skinheads. Fearing the worst, Maggie is enormously relieved when a minibus screeches to halt beside her and out jumps Kim, a charismatic artist, whose presence is enough to move the skins on. Maggie is relieved and grateful. Kim is intrigued, and both exchange glances as they part.

Maggie has recently dropped out of law school and is working at a women's bookshop called 'Ten Percent', comfortable with her choice. Her mother, Lila, calls the morning following the 'skincident' with a litany of overbearing criticism and prying enquiries. To stave off the inevitable, Maggie fibs aboul her circumstances, claiming she lives in a luxurious apartment. The ploy backfires when mother announces that she is in the throes of divorce and will be coming to stay with Maggie, bringing her younger brother, Paul.

Maggie's reluctance to come out with her sexual persuasion to her family, a developing relationship with Kim and sundry deceptions conspire to create tumultuous confusion and hilarity. A flamboyant modern gay farce, Better Than Chocolate has been the darling of the 1999 festival circuit. Director Anne Wheeler has a firm grasp on classy comedy and characterisation and injects her film with tenderness and an alluring charm. Fine performances from a gorgeous cast and Peggy Thompson's flab-free script power this dynamite winner. Energetic, sexy, smart and sassy.

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