Because my blog typically focuses on literature, this post would ideally be about a book. Unfortunately, my intended book remains marked at page 98. I haven’t picked it up in days, and I might not.
I expected to read “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” and then blog about how the fabulous movie of the same name is actually based on an even more fabulous book. What a typical blog that might have been.
In the film, and I presume, past page 98 in the book, several British seniors retire at a resort in India to love it, hate it, find answers, fall in love, and etc. India, as you may know, inspires diverse reactions in people. Through my job, I’ve had the opportunity to interview a man who considers it his second home and work with another who admits he can’t stand the place.
The book explains this polarization nicely:
“India had an unexpected effect on people; one could never predict who would surrender to its allure and who would be baffled and distressed.”
One of my favorite moments of the film explores how one chooses what he or she sees and experiences. A lady determined not to enjoy herself asks a man who long ago surrendered to India’s allure:
“How can you bear this country? What do you see that I don’t?” He answers, “The light, colors, smiles…and the way the people see life as a privilege and not a right; it teaches me something.”
Despite a couple of curmudgeons, who serve for contrast, most of the characters choose to embrace the experience; and as in real life, some people evolve and end up reversing roles. The good news is that there is hope for most of us, as shown in the end (admittedly wrapped up very conveniently) when a different grouchy lady ends up giving good advice to one of the previously more positive women who says, “Nothing here has worked out quite like I expected.” The formerly grouchy lady replies, “Most things don’t. But sometimes what happened instead is the good stuff.” Likewise, the most positive character’s motto throughout is “Everything will be all right in the end; and if it’s not all right, it’s not the end.” Intriguing, and I had to admit, mostly true.
If you’re reading my literary blog, I assume you, like me, may prefer movies that go beyond entertainment to offer some wisdom to ponder, in other words, movies that make you feel like you just read a really good book. And I haven’t even touched on one of the best storylines. So, in this case, I, for once, recommend skipping the book and going straight to the movie.
As for India, I’ve never been there, but if I ever make it, I look forward to seeing the light, colors, and smiles.
Moggach, Deborah. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. New York: Random House, 2012. Previously released as These Foolish Things. United Kingdom: Chatto & Windus, 2004.
A film by Fox Searchlight Pictures and John Madden. Screenplay by Ol Parker. 2012.