3 Quick Lessons From a Flick …

Evelyn: “There is no past that we can bring back by longing for it. Only a present that builds and creates itself as the past withdraws.”

Life wisdom from The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel


I enjoy films which are positive, yet realistic, which contain strong truths about life, but do not beat us over the head with them.  

I enjoy films which show us as we are:  frail, sometimes fearful, damaged, yet ultimately resilient and capable of great joy.

I enjoy films which celebrate the diversity of culture, age, relationships, and do so with respect for all sides.

Maybe that’s why I love this film … it teaches a great number of valuable lessons without seeming to do so.

Here’s a quick sampling …

 Young Wasim, as the aged porter at the hotel, spends almost the entire film mute in the background.  He has only one real function in this film:  To put a different context on the confrontation between a mother who disapproves of her son’s choice for a mate, and the couple who are in love.   His short observation at a pivotal moment is critical.  All turns out well, due to this minor character’s contribution which makes it be so.  

So we learn the value of speaking out …

We watch the dissolution of a 40-year marriage and, despite the pain, recognize the widely different strengths that the two players bring to this union.   Douglas Ainslie, the husband is a quiet and humble man, who finds joy and a rebirth of sorts in the sounds, smells, and tastes of India.  We like Douglas quite a bit.  However, Jean Ainslie spends most of the film in a deep blue funk, isolating herself from and openly resistant to their wildly changed environment.    We do not like Jean.

However, Jean is the one who has the strength to face the end of their relationship squarely and without regret.  

So we learn the value of facing reality honestly and openly …

We stand and cheer as Muriel Donnelly and Evelyn Greenslade, in distinctly different ways, go from tentative and fearful, to strong and independent.   For Muriel, the journey involves dealing with the pain of loss, the risk of friendship, and the need to be needed.   For Evelyn, the task is to become self-reliant in a world which has changed in almost every respect.

In both cases, but in different places, these women find purpose and a sense of belonging through service to others.  

So we learn the value to ourselves of serving others …

I could go on … oh, I could go on …

If you have seen this film, I would ask you to share your impressions.  

If you have not yet had the pleasure of seeing this film … just do it, as soon as possible.  

Enjoying what cinema is capable of providing us beyond vampires, zombies, and talking animals in the Heartland ….