Film Friday: The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

We return to the Marigold Hotel to find the residents well and truly acclimatised now, settled in and carving out lives for themselves in Jaipur. Evelyn and Douglas have a burgeoning romance, but they are both highly cautious to the point of bumbling. In one conversation with Mrs Donelly, Evelyn alludes to her problem.

‘Sometimes it seems the difference between what we want and what we fear is the width of an eyelash.’ The bright and optimistic Marigold Hotel seems to be a place where many of the occupants are attempting to face their fears and find a way forward. Some with more success than others. (In the first film they all left the safe confines of home to go looking for a new start.)

The Bible has plenty to say about our fears. In Romans 8 we are reassured that ‘our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can’t keep God’s love away.’ On the other hand we’re also advised that a healthy fear of God is a launching pad for wise living. (Proverbs 9 v 10) I guess we all live with fears of various kinds, some we face and live with, some we overcome, some we struggle to name. And at times the fear of God can make a difference.

This is a film full of quotable lines, here are just a few –
Babul: ‘Some you win, some you learn.’
Sonny: ‘Coincidence is just a word for when we cannot see the bigger plans.’
Douglas: ‘The great and terrible thing about life is that there’s just so much potential.’
When writer Guy Chambers turns up and describes his book thus, ‘It’s about getting older. About loss, death, a narrowing of the…’
Evelyn replies, ‘Well, you’ve come to the right place!’

But the Marigold Hotel isn’t a place where much is narrowing, the occupants’ world-views are constantly being broadened. And risk and challenge are always round the corner. When Jesus called his first disciples he challenged their world-view, and their lives became full of risks and challenges. Following Jesus today hasn’t changed much. It may not always be the bright and optimistic experience of the Marigold Hotel, but it’s certainly full of risks and challenges, and the call to keep moving forward. At one point Babul the cab driver says, ‘There’s no present like the time.’ Which is an interesting misquote. Perhaps it’s worth following that with a line from Lord of the Rings, ‘All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.’

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