MESSAGE IN THE MOVIES
Photo By 20th Century Fox
Directed by Lee Daniels. Starring Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey.
There are many good reasons why I should not have enjoyed The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. The storyline (in which seven Brits simultaneously move to a hotel for older adults in Jaipur, India) is contrived. The hotel itself is not a good one for older adults (too many steps) and the daily meals and Wi-Fi service seem too lavish for a low-cost resort. The storylines are similar to something you’d watch on Love Boat reruns, and there is a general denial of the suffering that can come with advanced years (in this movie you either die quickly or recover from illness incredibly).
Why did I enjoy it so much? Let me start with four good reasons: Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson and Maggie Smith as the hotel guests. British actors can take a hamburger script and turn it into filet mignon. They are surrounded by a group of other good actors including Ronald Pickup (that’s really his name) as a lonely man on the make and young Dev Patel (the lead in Slumdog Millionaire) as Sonny, the enthusiastic manager of the hotel “for beautiful people”.
And beautiful characters they are. Evelyn Greenslade (Dench) is a recent widow trying to learn about going it alone. Douglas and Jean Ainsle (Nighy and Penelope Wilson) are a couple whose marriage has been strained, hoping that a new locale might bring some healing. Muriel Donnely (Smith) needs a new hip, and traveling to India will get the surgery done well ahead of the long wait in Great Britain’s socialized health care program. Retired High Court Judge Graham Dashwood (Wilkinson) needs to resolve an incident from his past that took place in Jaipur. And Madge (Celia Imrie) is another single person looking for love. Sonny, the manager, is in love with a young woman (Tena Desae) who works at a tech service call center, which goes against his family’s wishes for an arranged marriage.
Well, you get the general idea. This isn’t Shakespeare, or even Shakespeare in Love (which John Madden also directed), but it is consistently entertaining, touching and fun. And the location shooting in Jaipur adds bright orange and yellow colors and a bustling city filled with people rich and poor. I just wish that this film didn’t evoke the feeling of the days of British rule as much as it does.
The simple message in this movie is that you need to be honest about yourself and open to the possibilities that each stage of life may bring. And, even if the film often acts as if the good life may last forever, that’s close enough to what Christians believe about life with God. If The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is nothing but a small taste of heaven, that is enough.
Three halos: An optimistic and hopeful film about love and second chances.
One pitchfork: Mild language, including one PG-13 F-bomb; some senior citizen consensual sex is implied.
Rev. Bruce Batchelor-Glader
COMMENTS! Do you have comments about this movie or movie review?
E-mail comments. (Comments will be posted to our web site.)
The East Ohio Conference Office:
located in North Canton, OH.
near the Akron-Canton airport.
8800 Cleveland Ave. NW ·
North Canton, OH 44720
Toll Free: 800-831-3972
Office Hours: Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
©2016 EAST OHIO CONFERENCE. All Rights Reserved.