Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Best Exotic

The best movies aren't the ones with the biggest explosions or the eye-poppingest 3D effects. As much as superhero movies supply ever-increasing bangs for our bucks, movies about real people facing real problems with good humour, gumption and a sense of unrealistic optimism told with a touch of charm are the true nourishment between the candy fillers.

"The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" in Jaipur, India, is just the place to be, if your eyes are the type that can see into the future. For now, the structure is ramshackle, the facilities are barely functional, the rooms are pest-ridden, the food... takes some getting used to. The whole place runs on a dream that one day it will be great, but in the meantime, just put up with it, it will get better. Soon.

The guests are a diverse set of retirees with an assortment of health problems, empty-nest syndrome, regrets of one sort or another, and they've come to get away from it all. People who don't have much future left, as far as they can see. And so begins the mismatch of English elderly middle-class expectations versus ambitious youthful Indian struggling-against-tradition hospitality.

Much of the charm taps on our desire to run away from everything and everyone in order to start afresh somewhere new, exotic and unfamiliar. But then, life always puts us in unfamiliar situations anyway, wherever we are. Retirement, long-term illness, loneliness and ageing are aspects of our lives that are inevitable, yet we never think that they will happen to us -- that is until they are already on top of us and we realize that the bridge we were going to cross when we get there is already behind us. Omg. Question is, is there life after that?

Is it still possible to find love or remain relevant and useful to society once we've turned a certain chronological milestone? Is it possible for a dream to come true even if no one else but the dreamer believes in it? The BEMH has brought everyone together to find out.

Two maxims keep the action flowing:

1) The only failure is the failure to try; and
2) It will be all right in the end. If it is not all right, it is not the end.

Words to live by.

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