By now, I’m considering to implement a strict trailer viewing policy. As in, unless it’s a movie I’m really curious about and/or it’s backed by at least a name that I have faith in, I should never check the trailer. Not just because it provides a certain sense of surprise and wonder, but also because trailers would most likely lead to expectation kills. I’m not entirely sure whether this plagued the better part of Indonesian movies (which I dread to find out), or if it’s a specific case for movies involving Ricky Harun. I need more samples, of course. But it hasn’t even been a month in 2017 and already, this is his second movie where the trailer paints the movie to be better than it actually is. Like, it’s not even all that good, but at least in the trailer the movie seems okay.
As this is a movie about chocolate, it appropriately kick off through close up of a someone concocting a chocolate beverage. Presumably, this is done by Orvala Theobroma (Pamela Bowie), our main female protagonist who loves chocolate so much because it’s an integral part on her life. She had a dream to works in chocolate related field, and we know this come true because she’s currently working in a chocolate cafe called Fedde Velten Cafe. Then a mysterious person enter the chocolate cafe and upon hearing his voice, Orvala dramatically turned around and call his name out. This is the cue for the first flashback (trust me, there’s plenty of that in this movie. There’s even flashbacks during the flashback).
5 years prior, we see Orvala and her father (Ferry Salim) cruising the street in a motorcycle while carrying boxes of donuts. They passed through Juno Aswanda (Ricky Harun), who told his driver to follow her motorcycle. And if that’s not stalker enough, he stopped his car so he can take Orvala’s picture as she gets down from her father’s motorcycle. Seriously, what is it between Ricky Harun and character who does stalker-ish behavior? Or are we really that lenient to such intrusive behavior? I mean, I know we have such fucked up standard about harassment and attribute most of them to “harmless flirting”, but I’d found a random guy taking pictures of me as creepy and intrusive instead of flattering. Even if that guy happens to be the cutest and richest guy in my school. Still nope. Anyway, Juno turns out to be the head of the school journalist club and he used those pictures to publish an article about Orvala and the donuts she sells… by saying that her father is her ojek-driver. Ouch.
Cue meet cute. Cue misunderstanding that could’ve easily been solved by better communication skills. Cue further life story of Orvala and how she met Aruna Handrian (Miqdad Addausy). Then we’re finally back on “present day”, only to discover that Aruna and Juno are cousins. Cue love triangle – but wait! Here comes Fidela (Sheila Dara Aisya), Juno’s best friend and Aruna’s past love. FOUR SIDED LOVE STORY ENSUES.
Dear Indonesian filmmakers, please stop with the non-linear storyline. With sound reason and proper execution, it could’ve add an interesting taste to the movie and make it stand out. Otherwise though, it’s a grating choice that does more harm than good. I mean, really, can you not see that the story would’ve flow better in a linear fashion without those flashbacks??? Flashbacks are supposed to shine a different light on an event we’ve already seen, spotlighting a detail we previously missed, or revealing a backstory that would explain why a character behaved a certain way. A flashback done not five minutes into the story did nothing to enhance the overall feel. Especially one that was as long as Orvala’s history with Juno. Like, by the time it’s done I damn near forget that it’s a flashback. And honestly, if you removed the opening scene and just started at the scene with Orvala and donut, perhaps the story would’ve been better because then I would understand – perhaps even sympathized – with Orvala’s surprise at seeing Juno again.
Obviously, those flashbacks are used as a countermeasure to the predictability of the story. Knowing there’s no real mystery and/or urgency in the story, Jay Sukmo and Johansyah Jumberan tried to create semblance of one by chopping off the story and leaving a small hole of details here and there. The flashback is supposed to fill those holes and acts as grand revelation, to surprised me and made me gasp as I at last understand everything. But it was so badly executed and instead, it wound up as a nuisance. And it got me wondering whether it’s possible they don’t have enough footage. So they resorts to flashback and repeating the same scene, only from different perspective or with additional little details, to reach the intended duration. I counted at least five different scenes being repeated at least once.
Expect no additional help from the actresses and actors, either. They were all just there to act out the dialogue. Which are eye-roll inducing, by the way. Like, I do believe that some people would compare life and chocolate to create a metaphor. Me and my peers once compared life with dick and created a metaphor out of it. And I do believe that high school students can have deep discussion about life. Been there done that, still doing that sometimes even, considering lots of fandom people are way younger than me. No, what didn’t sit well with me was the language they used. There’s no way high school kids and young adults talk in such rigid and formal language. If they changed the dialogue and make it more casual, it would’ve been far more believable.
And perhaps Pamela Bowie would’ve been able to deliver her lines with more ease. No offense, but it was clear to see that she’s trying to act. She didn’t slithered inside Orvala’s skin. She tried to be Orvala, and it showed. Miqdad was more okay as Aruna, even if he was inconsistent. But at least he wasn’t a sore thumb. Ricky Harun, surprisingly, was more enjoyable to watch compared to in Demi Cinta. I suspect it got more to do with how his character is written compared to his own acting skill, but still, it’s a relief. To not having to feel like bludgeoning him every time he popped up on screen. Plus I quite like his character’s outfit style. Aside from that, well, there’s really not much else to see in The Chocolate Chance.
I understand that there’s a general consensus against movies with television film quality. But you can’t make up for bland and predictable story and/or barely decent production values with aimless flashback. Without those cursed flashback, The Chocolate Chance would be a typical cheesy flick. But at least then it’ll be able to satisfy certain demographics. And I would’ve look at it in a more positive light, because then it would have succeeded in telling its story to its intended audience. As it turns out, though, this movie was as insufferable as Carol Danvers in Civil War II.
Director: Jay Sukmo. Writer: Johansyah Jumberan. Released on: 2 February 2017. Casts: Pamela Bowie, Ricky Harun, Miqdad Addausy, Sheila Dara Aisya, Ferry Salim.