Friday, December 21, 2012

"The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" (2011)

One of the films getting a lot of award buzz this year is the story of several British retirees who, due to financial concerns and limitations, decide to live out their retirement in India. The only problem is that the retirement resort they choose is less than it has made itself out to be. Hilarity ensues.

Only in this case we get less hilarity and more poignancy. This film is a study in cross cultural experience, aging issues, and finding the means to live life as it comes. Some of the characters here are totally incapable of that. Much of western culture is about the way we set up our routines and situations to avoid the unexpected—as much as possible. The fact is that life is full of unexpected circumstances and experiences. When we are able to roll with what comes our way and make the best of things, we may find that life is so much more of an experience than we are prepared to plan for.

Community is another important aspect of this story. At the start we are introduced to several individuals and one couple who are isolated. They are old, and in our culture that tends to mean they have become disconnected. Their life-long community has all died-off or effectively died when they ceased to work. After all, most community in western culture is built around our function—our usefulness to society. However, in the course of this film these individuals get to know each other and begin to function as a community totally independent of their individual functions. It is an interesting and inspirational thing to see.

Along the way there are some intense relational things that happen. Friendships are established, marriages broken, and people die.

This is more of a slow, visually beautiful film than a plot piece. Some of the acting is the sort that will likely keep it on our collective consciousnesses over the next few months. It is worth catching if you can handle this sort of relational study.

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