The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Seven older men and women — including an independent widow, a retired live-in housekeeper, a retired London High Court judge, an unhappily married couple, a divorcee and a single man — risk all to take up residence at the Marigold Hotel in Jaipur, India. The enthusiastic manager of the establishment describes it as an inexpensive retirement home for British citizens.

movie scene
Judi Dench (left) and Celia Imrie

It's fascinating to watch how these men and women respond to change as they try to cope with the crowded city, the hot weather, the problems at the hotel, and the spontaneous Hindu rituals going on around them. This character-driven film is directed by John Madden (Shakespeare in Love). Although this film is a comedy, it covers major themes in the elder stage of existence: life review, health crises, financial shortfalls, marital relationships, loneliness and spiritual openness.

Best of all is the message that you can teach an old dog new tricks. A change of milieu for some of these characters opens them up to new possibilities. All that is needed is an open heart, an open mind and patience — then the magic can happen (20th Century Fox, PG-13 — sexual content, language). Now on DVD.


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