Saturday, June 9, 2012

Movie Review: Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

I have this plan that when I'm old I'm going to join the Peace Corps. That idea in the back of my mind of squeezing in one more adventure before I'm done with this world keeps me from the absolute dread of growing older. I'm a firm believer that constant learning, growing, and exploring is going to keep you young even as the body becomes less cooperative.

 It's never too late to start over.  That's the lesson of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.  A film based on the novel These Foolish Things by Deborah Maggach.


The film opens by introducing us to the cast of characters, all of whom are British and many of  whom find themselves in their later years in situations that haven't quite turned out how they'd hoped. In other words the movie starts off with a dose of harsh reality, especially in the current economic downturn which has left so many retirees with less than they had anticipated. We get a little insight into each of their stories and personalities as they embark on their journey to India where a clever young hotel owner has decided that it might be a good idea to "outsource old age" for the countries that don't like their old people. His sales pitch includes exotic luxury and intoxicating colors at The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel..."for the elderly and beautiful."

This is an incredible ensemble cast with Judy Dench as a recent widow wondering if life has anything left for her and Dev Patel as the hotel owner. It features Maggie Smith as a small minded woman who finds herself in need of a hip replacement and is less than happy to be in India surrounded by Indians.

What we took away:

I'm not going to spoil the movie for you but it is chocked full of life lessons worth adhering to. There isn't anything, not even youth, that is more beautiful than a passion for life. The answer to the question "Do you think we'll be alright?" is that "It's going to be extraordinary." I love that. Not perfect. Maybe not comfortable, but wonderful in ways that perhaps you haven't imagined. Isn't that just like life? Of course you only get to benefit from that if you are willing to let go of expectations and open yourself up to new experiences. The film includes one character who is incapable of releasing her death grip on how she wants things to be and is a lesson in what the small minded and emotionally stunted who have a need for complete control miss along the journey.

This movie also brings another idea to the forefront, which is that we never get over being wanted and needed in all kinds of ways. And we never get over the wanting and needing. It also raises the question--why would you want to? The movie depicts the various characters trying to work that out with humor, wit, and tenderness.

"Everything will be alright in the end...so if it is not alright, it is not yet the end." Is Sonny's (Dev Patel) motto, and it is repeated several times throughout the film. This is a charming movie about optimism and embracing life every day. As Evelyn (Judy Dench) says at one point "India, like life itself I suppose, is about what you bring to it." The sooner you learn that lesson, the better off you'll be.

 Where we ate: A friend has been recommending a local Indian restaurant to me for ages. Finally on our way to see a movie set in India, the Bombay House seemed to be a most appropriate choice for lunch.  They offer a lunch buffet which is the perfect way to get to sample several dishes if the cuisine is new to you. The buffet features: Chicken Wings, Tandoori Chicken, 2 Meat Curries, 3 Vegetable Curries, Daal, Basmati Rice, Garlic Naan, Chutney, 3 Desserts & Full Salad Bar. 

The chicken curry and tandoori chicken were my favorite dishes and the rice pudding (served cold) is comfort food at its finest. In fact the overall impression of the experience was that of being fed by someone's Indian grandmother. 


What I wore: 


I do so like a theme.



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