Last summer, I was on a flight back to the States from overseas and was sorting through the various video selections to try and pass away the long flight hours. I had pretty well run the course of my favorite television comedies and still had a good number of hours to expend. Looking at the feature-length films, nothing seemed to catch my interest. One title seemed to keep calling me, though. I could not determine why. Finally, I broke down, looked at the summary, noticed a few of my favorite actors, and decided to give it a try. I reasoned with myself that I could just turn it off if it could not keep alive my interest.
In the end, I could not believe that two hours passed without my moving an inch. During those two hours, I laughed; I cried; I was drawn into the film as if I were one of its actors. In short, like so many other people's experience in the past year or so, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel captured my imagination and filled me with images and feelings that had been dormant perhaps for far too long.
Here was the story of seven British retirees who were at the brink of change in their lives. They sought something different. They sought something that could fill them up. Each of them in their own lives had read about this curious luxury residence overseas in India. They individually decided to take the risk. They never before had met. They then met on the journey, and when they arrived they all found something far different than anything they had expected. Their new experience posed enormously unexpected challenges in many deep levels for each of them. There were incongruities that exploded into laughter. There were serious confrontations that revealed long brewing difficulties. And still deeper, there were memories that emerged that required inner resolutions beyond what the filmgoer would have ever thought they would encounter. In the end, each of the seven retirees underwent an experience of unimagined transformation and profound change.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a most attractive film because its message mirrors powerfully the experience of each of us. Our lives are always on the road to change and transformation. Few of us, if any at all, pass through our years with just "the expected" happening to us. Our lives are marked by leaps and surprises that invite us to change and mutate in ways completely unexpected. Transformation is part of the human pathway. It is not always pleasant. It is what peppers our personal...