Everyone enjoys film for different reasons, but one of the most common reasons is to be taken away from the challenges of life and placed smack dab in the middle of something different. For some that means watching a fantasy or action film. And for others it’s to watch someone else’s life for just a couple of hours. Even the harshest of dramas or horror gives viewers a way to take their mind off their own lives. Peace By Chocolate not only does that, but it also inspires the viewers to aim high and look at life just a little differently.
Peace By Chocolate tells the true story of Tareq Hadhad (newcomer Ayham Abou Ammar). He’s a Syrian refugee who had to flee his home in 2017 to Antigonish, a small community in Nova Scotia, Canada. His family follows shortly afterwards, including his father Issam (Hatem Ali in his last role). His father doesn’t want to sit around and collect government money. So he opens a small chocolate factory to support him and his family. The only catch is he can’t speak English, and must rely on his son to help out with the business. Tareq has other goals however, and soon finds himself having to make a decision. If he follows that decision, we would see him leaving his family behind to pursue his own dream of becoming a doctor.
At first, Peace By Chocolate feels like it will be a typical feel-good film. Peace even paves the way to becoming such. It quickly changes things up however, by not forcing you to choose sides or by causing you to debate who is right and who is wrong. It instead tells you an honest story about the plight of refugees and how they are forced to make tough decisions when they are far from home.
Other films may have played with the viewer’s emotions by showing the struggles the refugees were going through, or the ignorance and intolerance of the community they moved to. But Peace By Chocolate instead shows a family that is stronger together. A family willing to do whatever it takes to not be a burden on anyone. Not that these struggles never come up, they do and it presents some heavy themes at times. But they never become the focus and the film always gets back on track. You never pity the family either, but you will find yourself inspired by them.
While Peace By Chocolate isn’t flawless, it is still brilliant nonetheless. You will leave the theatre with a smile on your face. You’ll also leave with a stronger understanding of people who had to leave everything they knew behind.
- Rated: NR
- Genre: Comedy, Drama
- Directed by: Jonathan Keijser
- Starring: Ayham Abou Ammar, Hatem Ali, Mark Camacho, Mark Hachem
- Produced by: Catherine Léger, Jonathan Keijser, Martin Paul-Hus
- Written by: Abdul Malik, Jonathan Keijser
- Studio: Dali Entertainment, Magnetic North Pictures, Téléfilm Canada