Peace by Chocolate Parent Guide
This sweet little film overflows with hope, kindness, and good neighborliness. It's a treat to watch.
Parent Movie Review
Winter isn’t the best time to arrive in Canada but Tareq Hadhad (Ayham Abou Ammar) has no choice. The Syrian medical student spent three years living in a Lebanese refugee camp before being granted asylum in Canada. Visa in hand, Tareq is the first of his family to land in the Halifax airport…in the middle of winter.
Shocked by the climate and the smallness of his new hometown of Antigonish, Tareq tries to get his sponsorship moved to Toronto, where there is a larger Syrian community. When that fails, he settles down to make the best of it. He welcomes his parents when they arrive, applies to Canadian medical schools, and waits for his sister and her child to get their visas.
Tareq isn’t the only one who must adjust to this new home. His father Issam (Hatem Ali) feels lost and purposeless. A successful chocolatier with a factory in Syria, time hangs heavy on his hands. Dabbling in their new kitchen, Issam starts making chocolates and discovers that the local community has an insatiable desire for high quality confections, which leads to a fledgling business. But it brings a quandary for Tareq: does he pursue his med school dreams or does he continue to be his father’s translator and interface with Canadian society?
I expected Peace by Chocolate to be a feel-good film with a made-for-tv vibe. I was right, but there’s more to this movie than I expected. Yes, it’s a film about resilient refugees and gosh-darn nice Canadians. But it also takes a serious look at the emotional conflicts that roil the Hadhad family. Issam wrestles with his dependence on his son, feeling gratitude, guilt, and frustration. His wife Shahnaz (Yara Sabri) is consumed with worry about her daughter and granddaughter trapped in Lebanon. Tareq is caught in an internal conflict between his love for his father and his desperate desire to achieve his own dreams of becoming a doctor. And all of them grapple with maintaining their Syrian cultural identity as they adapt to life in this strange new land.
There are plenty of reasons to share Peace by Chocolate with your teens and tweens and few negative issues aside from some scattered curse words. The Hadhads exemplify family loyalty, love, hard work, persistence, and grit. And the people of Antigonish demonstrate the astounding hospitality that is typical of Atlantic Canada. (I’ve traveled there frequently and can personally attest that Maritimers are the nicest Canadians you’ll ever meet.) The movie acknowledges that not all Antigonish residents are friendly – one disgruntled business owner who’s losing customers to the Hadhads grumbles that her customers are choosing “newcomers over neighbors” - but the show demonstrates that even issues like these can be addressed peacefully.
One of the best parts of this film is that it’s based on a true story. The Hadhad family is real and you can order their chocolates online if you want to judge for yourself. But while the sugar in those chocolates isn’t good for you, this sweet little film will boost your mood, strengthen your hope for humanity, and put a smile on your face, all without adding a single pound to the scale. Now that’s a real treat.Directed by Jonathan Keijser. Starring Hatem Ali, Yara Sabri, Ayham Abou, Mark Camacho, Kathryn Kirkpatrick. Running time: 106 minutes. Theatrical release May 6, 2022. Updated May 6, 2022
Peace by Chocolate
Rating & Content Info
Why is Peace by Chocolate rated Not Rated? Peace by Chocolate is rated Not Rated by the MPAA
Violence: There are brief images of a city being bombed, with buildings collapsing and people running. There’s mention of a man dying in the war. A man waves a knife at an employee. A man collapses with a heart attack.
Sexual Content: None.
Profanity: There are a handful of terms of deity, a single minor curse word, and one sexual expletive in this film.
Alcohol / Drug Use: None noted.
Page last updated May 6, 2022
Peace by Chocolate Parents' Guide
Peace by Chocolate is a real company and you can order their products here.
For more information about the Hadhad family and their business, you can check out these articles:
The Arab Weekly: A Syrian refugee’s “Peace by Chocolate”
Google Canada: Peace by Chocolate: New beginnings
Related home video titles:
Jasmine Road is a fictional tale of Syrian refugees granted asylum in Canada. This family winds up in Rocky Mountain country and shares their ice cream making tradition with their new neighbors.
Three Sudanese refugees find asylum in the United States in The Good Lie. But they face a terrible dilemma…
The legendary kindness of Atlantic Canadians comes to the big screen in Come from Away, a musical about airplane passengers stranded in Newfoundland on 9/11.