I finally saw the movie the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel at a NJ art house last week. I had just planted my marigold seeds on the northern side of my house. Last Fall they gave me such long lasting pleasure and reminded me to smile. And here is a movie mentioning marigolds that also made me smile.
The movie centers on a group of aging Brits. I am not sure how you’d describe them: midlifers, baby boomers, seniors or elderly. The subcategories of aging seem to merge in people’s understanding. For different reasons the characters are all seeking to escape their circumstances in England. Based upon a beautiful brochure and with no prior knowledge of each other, they travel to the best Exotic Marigold Hotel in Jaipur, India.
The characters include a husband and wife of 30 years, a many-times-over unmarried woman in search of a wealthy new husband; a retired judge with a secret; a single elderly male wanting just one more hot fling; Judi Dench, a recent widow on her own for the first time and Maggie Smith who is in search of an inexpensive hip replacement. I will henceforth remember each of the fine character actors (I knew Dench and Maggie Smith before) who I do not know because each has an unforgettable tick they use to make the viewer understand and see that life had left its imprint on them.
The movie is a comedy. We are carried away by the dreams of Dev Patel, from Salaam Bombay, who is the owner of the most Exotic Marigold Hotel. His dream is to make the most Exotic Marigold Hotel for the elderly and satisfied a world renown destination targeting British citizens with whom India has a long history.
For me, the film was a 2 hour trip to Jaipur. The Jaipur Tourist Office in New York, if one exists, should thank the film makers. I laughed so much. And as Oprah said in an interview with Deepak Chopra on a balcony overlooking the city of Jaipur, I too was assaulted by the scents and sounds of India so carefully rendered in this movie. You will feel as if you are there. I can’t wait to visit the city myself.
But as it is not clear whether the characters are running from or to something, here is my question for you dear reader: Can you tell if you are running “to” some place rather than “from” something? And does it matter.