‘Like Water for Chocolate’ is a Mexican film about love, food and generational trauma. It represents a Latin-American trend called ‘magical realism’. Or as we would now say – spirituality.
Tita is a young girl who according to family tradition cannot get married but instead has to take care of her mother until the end of her days. So even though she is in love with Pedro and he is in love with her, they cannot be together and he marries her sister Rosaura to stay close to her. When Rosaura and Pedro have a daughter Esperanza, Rosaura tells everybody that her daughter will have to follow the same family tradition. Tita promises little Esperanza and herself that this cruel tradition will die with her and no other girl in their family will suffer because of it.
Doctor John Brown who takes care of Tita tells her that his grandmother, a Kikapu Indian called Morning Star, told him that ‘we are all born with a box of matches inside of us, and we can’t light them ourselves’. We need oxygen that ‘must come from the breath of the lover’. And then we also need the light of the candle, which can be anything: ‘a song, a word, a caress, a sound’. As he explains it: ‘Something that pulls the trigger and lights one of the matches. Each of us has to discover what our triggers to life are because the combustion of one of the matches feeds the soul. If there is no trigger of the matches, the match box gets damp, and we’ll never be able to light any of them’.
Fortunately, there are many ways in which we can dry a damp match box. When Doctor Brown talks about the triggers, Tita recalls her walks with Pedro before he married Rosaura. He was her oxygen and her candle light. Doctor Brown finally warns her: ‘It’s also very important to light the matches one by one. If an intense emotion were to light them all at once, they would create such a brilliant light, that before our eyes a tunnel would appear, magnificent, showing us the way we forgot when we were born. Calling us back to find our lost divine origin’. And in the end that is exactly what happens to Tita and Pedro. Their passion lit up all of their matches at once and they crossed the tunnel.
When her mother died, Tita was persecuted by her ghost who belittled her and cursed her. Maybe it was a real ghost or maybe it was just the so-called inner critic’s voice in her head that originated in her mother’s trash-talk. She has been victimized all her life by Mama Elena but when she finally stood up for herself, the ghost disappeared forever. ‘I believe what I am. Somebody with the right to live her life the way she wants’ – she said and accepted herself completely, in her wholeness.
Tita has healed generational trauma and by doing so she has healed seven generations before her and seven generations coming after her. Because according to Native American Seven Generation Principle, our decisions affect seven past and future generations. So choose wisely.