The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Last night I snuck out to see a movie at 10:15 p.m. I haven’t seen a movie that late and by myself since I used to go to midnight showings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show in Greenwich Village. Rocky Horror is a cult classic and, in New York City at least, audience members would dress up like characters from the movie, step to the front of the theater, and act out what was going on the screen. A Navy pilot named Doug Ord took me there the first time.
In addition to those who acted out Rocky Horror up front, there were certain moments during the movie when the rest of audience participated by flicking lighters, holding a newspaper folded in half over our heads, and shooting squirt guns towards the front. I never dressed up, but I was a mean shot with a squirt gun. They still show Rocky Horror like this every other Friday night at the Naro in Norfolk. The Marigold movie didn’t have audience participation except that I laughed in the dark theater where I was the only customer.
I stepped up to purchase my ticket and a breathless young woman with an Afro ran to her place behind the glass, accepted my payment, and slid my ticket through the opening. This always reminds me of purchasing a subway ticket back in the day before the ATM-style machines I now use when in New York. I entered the theater where the still breathless girl raced to meet me on the other side and took the ticket. Somehow I found this comical.
The Marigold movie was a delight, a tale about British ex-patriots of retirement age, who due to reduced circumstances, need to find a lower cost of living. It was a story of really radical, beyond coupons, downsizing. The hotel looks glossy and inviting in the brochure, but the actual circumstances are less than ideal. The incomparable Maggie Smith and the amazing Judi Dench as well as the other actors draw you into an engaging story. The cinematography of exotic, colorful India was breathtaking.
There was an important Christian message in the movie, despite Hollywood’s best efforts to disguise it. The same message as my last post, “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” I was also reminded of the Apostle Paul’s letter written from prison in which he shares that he has learned to be content in all circumstances.
One character was jarred by the cultural differences and anger at the loss of her husband’s retirement account. Her fear and pain manifested as a critical and repellent attitude. Other hotel guests avoided her and she derided her husband with caustic comments. She turned to sin to fill her broken life with disastrous results.
Judi Dench’s character was bewildered by the financial mess her late husband made, but brave and hopeful in facing the future with an open heart. She ultimately found a new life in India, with adventure, friends, and loved ones. Other guests wanted to be with her; they sought out her company. Her sweet nature and life experience led to employment which she desperately needed and a new love in her life. That employment stemmed from a painful experience which she used as a teaching moment in her life rather than a root of bitterness in her heart.
Two women, facing the same circumstances...the ultimate outcome all stems from attitude.
I should sneak out to the late movie more often, for God’s lessons await in the most surprising places. “See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness, springing up, causes trouble, and by it many be defiled”? Hebrews 12:15