The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

I am not usually one for movie reviews. Going to the movies is one of my most favorite pastimes, but unfortuantely it’s not something I do often. Perhaps that’s what keeps the excitement alive? Last night – the first night in what seems as though it will be a five day celebration of my birthday – Lanre and I had an impromptu dinner & movie date. It’s unusual that we both want to see a movie, but when we saw previews for this film we both decided it looked good. As it turns out, it’s kind of an old person’s movie. We were surrounded by women of late middle age, which is ironic since most people who know us refer to us as grandparents. (We like routines and we go to bed early and we like coupons!)

I am blogging about it because it inspired me to blog again. The main character is lovely and she just so happens to blog all about her excursion in India. This alone inspired me to return to my love of blogging. But the movie also just inspired me. It’s packed full of British actors who are all at once familiar and foreign to me. I know I’ve seen them in movies or television or perhaps even on talk shows, but I don’t know them. Except, of course, Maggie Smith (Professor McGonnagal) and Dev Patel  (star of Slumdog Millionaire). I prefer when I don’t know the actors in a film. It allows me to relax more into the characters without comparison.

The premise of the movie is that a group of senior individuals from Britain who retire to the more affordable India under a slightly misleading portrayal of a retirement community known as The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. What I loved about the film is that it showed these individuals adapting (or not adapting) to their new culture. Having lived in very different cultures myself I know how difficult it was for me to acclimate as a twenty-something. I can only imagine being sixty-something and coming to live in a completely foreign culture. And I was so impressed with how graciously they handled their new surroundings.

There are many likeness-es between India and Nigeria. And I’m not sure I could live in Nigeria as successfully as these individuals lived in India (and my husband is from there). While I was there I had people shouting at me constantly. Everyone wanted to meet me, talk to me, touch me. The men around my age were all trying to give me their contact information despite my fiance being by my side. That or they wanted me to set them up with one of my girlfriends. The cities were very crowded, the traffic horrendous. There was trash everywhere in the streets. And in the cities there were always children chasing after me asking for money. There are also many wonderful things about Nigeria, but right now I’m focusing on the reasons I had trouble adapting even for just a month. As I watched this movie, however, I thought to myself that I hope I can, in the future, adapt to new surroundings with even a tenth of the poise some of the characters in this movie exhibited.

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