A few weeks ago I went with a friend to see The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. It’s a fun film and there are fans of the first film who will adore this sequel. I still love the all-star cast and as my friend said of the newcomer, “Richard Gere has aged well.” Yes, indeed. It was also great to see Lillete Dubey’s character developed more. The film is worth seeing on a big screen because of the setting–India, mostly shot outdoors. Many scenes are set in the daytime so the screen is saturated with sunlight and all colors of the spectrum. The other bonus to seeing the film in the theater is the rich and vibrant musical score. The biggest rub? A third way through the film my friend and I did start whispering vehemently at Sonny, the young proprietor, “Shut up and get over yourself.”
As a pastor I would say that the films, together or apart, are a gift to the church. When I read practical theology articles I see a tendency to limit the role of seniors in the life of the congregation. Worst is when they are seen as people who only need to be served or when they are seen as less-than: “We have a lot of gray hair in our congregation.” Better is when they are called on to be mentors because someone has taken the time to listen and discovered that this group has wisdom to share. Best of all, and this is what we are reminded of by the Marigolds, is that people ages 70-100 are as diverse as any other demographic in our communities of faith and many of them are innovative, creative and eager to give their time, skills, and passion to congregations, local communities, and the world.
Evelyn and Douglas have joined the Jaipur workforce; the former is more competent than the latter. Murial is co-manager of the hotel. Everyone is exploring new relationships, business and/or personal. These are wonderful individuals living interesting lives who are ready to share the knowledge they’ve gained over a lifetime. They are also curious about the world around them. And though their new joys, heartaches, adventures have common threads, each character is unique, as are all of the people sitting in the pews every Sunday.
Finally, everyone who admires Maggie Smith and Judi Dench should see this film. And everyone should love these two marvelous actresses.