Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Are you up for an inspiring movie that will make you laugh, ponder and applaud ... and then ponder some more? This is it. Bill and I ended our Sabbath day on Sunday with dinner and a movie (a belated birthday celebration). I picked the movie and I'm glad I did, even though it was about retirement! I loved this movie. Why?
  • The cast. How can you go wrong with the marvelous Judi Dench and Maggie Smith in starring roles? Outstanding! 
  • The director. John Madden (Shakespeare in Love) has some really wonderful moments in his direction of this film. Truly wonderful bits that had me leaning over to Bill a few times to whisper comments in his ear. 
  • The location. I've never been to India, nor do I have any penchant for going there. But this film gave me more than a glimpse of what it would be like.
  • The interaction. This is where the film rises above many others I've seen. The interactions between the main characters and the interactions between the people from India and the British tourists. Delightful.
  • The lessons/morals of the story.
  • The mood of the movie. Charming and uplifting
  • The cast. I know I started with this, but I have to repeat it. Casting directors, Michelle Guish and Sahar Latif, chose exactly the right people to play these enchanting characters. As much as I loved Dench and Smith is this film, the true standout performance was delivered by Dev Patel, who should easily garner an Oscar nod. The only problem with Patel is he didn't have nearly enough screen time. 
Other cast members worthy of mention include Patel's girlfriend in the movie, the stunning Tena Desae, and the others from the retiree group -- Tom Wilkinson, Bill Nighy,  Penelope Wilton, Celia Imrie, and Ronald Pickup (aptly named, considering his role!).

Superb acting, directing and scenery aside, I think the lessons/morals of the story are what impressed me the most. It poses the question, "How do you deal with change and loss?" Ahem. I think I needed this.

The Marigold Hotel draws this group of retirees in with a bit of false advertising. False in that it doesn't quite resemble what the group was promised, but not false in the vision of the proprietor -- the young idealistic Sonny Kapoor. He sees what the Marigold could be and his enthusiasm is contagious. The audience sees it, too.

It is a place for "the elderly and the beautiful;" a place for "outsourcing the ones other countries no longer want." I'm paraphrasing one of the most poignant lines in the movie, delivered with a smile by Patel's character.

"I have a dream to create a home for the elderly so wonderful, that they will simply refuse to die," Sonny gushes to his girlfriend.

Think about it. In India, they value the elderly. What lessons we could learn ... what lessons we should learn.

Other lessons:
  • It's never too late to find love
  • First loves are hard, if not impossible, to forget
  • Something new and exciting can be just around the corner, no matter how old you are
  • We can all learn from each other
  • "Everything will be alright in the end, so if it's not alright, it is not yet the end."
  • "India, like life itself, I suppose, is about what you bring to it." 
There is even a dig at Universal Healthcare, as Smith's character has to wait 6 months to see a doctor for a hip replacement, so she goes to India to have it done right away.

The movie has been panned by some reviewers. I don't know what they were watching. Maybe they enjoy a bit more skin, blood and loud explosions ... none of which you'll find here. And, for those of you who prefer Christian-themed movies, I won't lie to you. There are things about this movie you might find offensive. However, it is clearly not meant to be a Christian movie. But there are still wonderful lessons to glean, including this one from Judi Dench's character's blog: "The only real failure is the failure to try, and the measure of success is how we cope with disappointment, as we must."

Disappointment? In some things in my life, of course. In this movie, not in the least.

If you've seen the movie, were there any lessons that spoke to you?

Do you want to win $5,000 and an international adventure? Submit your idea for improving your community and the world in the Marigold Ideas For Good Contest!

In conjunction with Encore.org and Road Scholar, five winners each month over the age of 50 -- from April to September -- will receive a $5,000 grant toward their project, and one grand prize winner each month will receive an additional educational or service-learning trip.


  1. fantastic post and Thanks for sharing this info. It's very helpful.
    guest house in jaipur

    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed it, Gopal. It was a fun movie to review!


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