Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Finally got to see the film, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. It's out on dvd this week. Since I watched the previews long ago, I have been waiting to see it. It's filled with good, old actors. I emphasize old. Most of the main characters are getting close to 80. Not too many years ago the only film they would have starred in would have been set in a nursing home. But, today we know 80 is the new 60, right.  And it seems to be. In the movie the main characters all end up in the same "hotel" for the elderly in India. It's supposed to be one of those all inclusive retirement places. It looks good on the brochure but it not so good in real life. All of the main characters arrive at the same time but by their own individual routes. They don't know each other before they meet at the hotel. But, they all share a need to reduce their living expenses in retirement and the hotel promises to do that. They have other needs, as well, like cheaper medical care, companionship, and meaning in later life. But, India! It is a huge change for nearly all of them. They are totally unprepared for the chaos they discover in their new country and the hotel. The enthusiastic hotel manager tries to put a positive spin on their new adventure even when everything goes wrong. "Everything will be good in the end and if it's not good, it's not the end." is his personal credo which he shares with each of them. The heart of the film is how each of the characters adapts to their new lives. Some are positive, and embrace the chaos. Some do not and compare everything with home and find their new life lacking in every way and only complain. Some take it slow, cautiously, like a person testing the water at a new beach, and in the process find themselves changing - in spite of themselves.

There's a message here that older folks can enjoy full and vital lives but the more important message is that we can change and adapt - and we have to - at any age. Any one can "be set in their ways". Elders are usually stereotyped that way. But, the message here is that the beauty of life is there, right there in front of you, if you care to look.