The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel Review

Last week my wife and I went to see a movie called, “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” starring a slew of well-known English actors and set in India. As the movie opens the viewer is introduced to various characters experiencing specific life events that are going to place them in the same location, a start-up retirement community in India run by an ambitious young man who is the youngest of three sons. I did not read a review of the movie beforehand but had seen a preview of it. Years ago I had read a book called “Howard’s End” by E.M. Forester and remembered the fine movie I had seen made from the book, so I was expecting something similar. Forester’s book is about three families and does address class and gender struggle among other things. The “expectations” of my mind floated to an exotic location with an understated plot full of subtle twists and turns with plenty of psychological nuances and tensions. Boy were we disappointed. Movies have tremendous power to convey messages and Hollywood rarely disappoints when it comes to furthering an agenda that is not only misguided but very dangerous. We have a generation of brainwashed individuals both young and old falling for this balderdash like no other. It was actually embarrassing to see well-known seasoned actors play parts beneath their true talents. What a waste!

In the movie we see the word or concept of “love” linked throughout to the following: a thirty-year marriage portrayed as miserable, overbearing, and on the verge of breaking up; an elderly man focused on finding a woman to have a “mountaintop” sexual experience with; a recently widowed woman whose husband of forty years hid their finances from her throughout their marriage, thus leaving her broke and having to find work to support herself; an older woman with a reputation of multiple past marriages; a recently retired lawyer with health concerns who is returning to find a man he had a brief sexual fling with in their late teens (he is a confirmed lifelong “gay” man); a bitter old maid with deep prejudices (and no ability to hold her tongue about it) who has taken care of someone else’s children her whole life; and lastly a young couple who are attracted to each other (it is implied that they are having sex) but of course their attraction is counter to their stations in life (i.e. clearly a reference to the caste system). While we do get a very brief glimpse of these people’s lives before they leave for India, the move seems impulsive because they just up and leave family and friends. This is clearly an attack on the family and the stability it provides. Where are these people’s roots? Do their life experiences count for anything? What we see in their behavior is just not realistic. In short there is nothing that reflects a traditional view of what real love is as stated by Paul in the Bible. “Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong; but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Corinthians 13: 4-7). Upon reflection, the movie bashed marriage and quite frankly why would the young couple in the movie want to persevere given what they witness going on around them in the so-called “older and wiser” generation. It was as if these people never learned anything from their own personal life experiences. Human beings are not just reactive animals. We can reflect on our experiences and grow emotionally and spiritually from them.

Mary Eberstadt author of “Adam and Eve After the Pill” (a book everyone should read) states that, “Christian teaching in these intensely controversial matters (such as premarital sex, cohabitation, homosexuality, and birth control) is actually being vindicated by secular social science and secular evidence from elsewhere, including the popular culture.” Even an atheist would draw the same conclusions. Most of what is portrayed in “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” strikes at the dignity of the human person. There is not love but the “use” of another human being for one’s own personal gratification (selfishness). The evidence is in: must we as a nation collapse due to a lack of moral clarity or can we begin to teach virtue and strive for the happiness that authentic and genuine relationships provide? Happily, ticket sale revenues for “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” are low and I am sorry I saw it. However I am grateful to point out to readers how movies can associate truly beautiful God-given capacities like love with such hurtful, immature and destructive behavior. This association is deceitful and will ruin lives! There was nothing charming about this film and in fact, it made me angry and miserable on the inside.

The book, “50 Shades of Grey” by E L James, is being billed as an “erotic best seller” and is sweeping through neighborhood book clubs at an alarming rate. How can anyone in their right mind proclaim anything redeeming about a book that portrays “rape” as some form of “romance.” St. Paul said “flee immorality” and we should all do the same. I briefly glanced at a blog about the book and was simply shocked by the nonsense that I read. St. Augustine said, “Sin diminishes sight” meaning the more we separate ourselves from God’s self-revelation through his Son, Jesus Christ, we don’t think or do things in a right mind. We become senseless. Where has common sense gone? The book is just another example of the “pornification” of our culture.

Studies clearly demonstrate that premarital sex, cohabitation, and the use of birth control lead to markedly higher levels of marital/relational dissatisfaction and ultimately divorce. Social science confirms what faith and reason already tell us. Spread the Word! If you or someone you know may need counseling, please contact Lamar Hunt Jr. or see his website at

The Tokugawa Shogunate

The “Tokugawa Shogunate” ruled in Japan from 1603 until 1868. This feudal regime, established by an individual named Tokugawa Leyasu, was ruled subsequently by the “shoguns” of the Tokugawa family. Now a shogun was a “hereditary” military commander while the Emperor was more of a figurehead during the long rule of the shoguns in Japan (1192-1867). One may remember a TV miniseries called “Shogun” based on the novel by James Clavell. Clavell also wrote “To Sir With Love” that was turned into a wonderful movie starring Sidney Poitier, the first African-American to win an academy award for his role in “Lilies of the Field.”

The Tokugawa Shogunate ruled from Edo Castle which was changed to the name “Tokyo” in 1868 after the abolishment of the Tokugawa shogunate (and thus the rule of all shoguns) during the Meiji Restoration. Shogun rule was based on a strict class hierarchy that was inflexible. It was a military style rule where there were lords, warriors (samurai), farmers, artisans, and traders. The movie, “The Last Samurai” (2003) starring Tom Cruise, is set in 19th-century Japan where after centuries of hiring samurai for the national defense, Emperor Meiji has made it clear he wants to do away with the samurai warriors. Tom Cruise plays a Civil War veteran hired to train an army to wipe out the samurai. However he is captured by the samurai and becomes conflicted once he learns of their history. Before the drama depicted in “The Last Samurai”  and during the early rule of the Tokugawa Shogunate, Christianity was banned or being stomped out because of one man’s two year visit to Japan starting in 1549.

St. Francis Xavier (a Jesuit priest) was the first Christian to go to Japan as a missionary and at first he was met with tremendous resistance, but after working for more than two years he was able to establish, along with help from many others, three congregations within Japan’s feudal society. St. Francis struggled to learn the Japanese language but he was able to use artwork to teach the Christian faith. Christianity began to grow in Japan, albeit slowly, and things came to a head in 1637-38 in the Shimabara Rebellion where 40,000 Christian peasants were confronted and the Christian religion was banned under the penalty of death. Whenever someone was suspected of being a Christian, regime officials from the Tokugawa Shogunate would place pictures of Jesus and Mary before the “suspects” and order them to stomp on them. Refusal to do so, if persisted in, would end in execution.

The President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Cardinal Timothy Dolan said on May 9th, 2012, “In our own country we are seeing the growth of a movement just as antithetical in theory to Catholicism and traditional Christianity as the Tokugawa shogunate, and it finds its home in the Democratic Party. What we have seen over the last few decades is the evolution of the Democratic Party into an overtly anti-Catholic party. The Obama administration is the culmination of this trend. This, of course, is deeply ironic because the Democratic party is a major party in this country with the help of the votes of tens of millions of purported Catholics.” Cardinal Dolan goes on to point out how Democrats, with some notable honorable exceptions, have championed things like abortion rights, the embrace of homosexuality including driving the Catholic Church out of the adoption business because it refuses to embrace adoption for same-sex couples and mandating homosexual indoctrination in public schools that masquerades as education and finally mandating that Catholic Institutions offer “free” contraception coverage for its employees. Now more recently the President has endorsed same-sex marriage which is an attempt to “redefine” marriage.

At the heart of any significant relationship is a desire to belong to another perhaps in friendship or as life-long married partners sharing all of life’s joys and sorrows. So why is a marriage between two people of the “same-sex” not the same as marriage between a man and a woman? Pope Benedict provides us with the most clear voice on this matter when he states that “the Church in the United States is called, in season and out of season, to proclaim a Gospel which not only proposes unchanging moral truths but proposes them precisely as the key to human happiness and social prospering.” The Holy Father connects unchanging moral truths as a key to human happiness and social prospering and neither cultural trends, scientific rationality, suppression through government action or majority rule should deter the truth from being offered to all men. Pope Benedict says that nothing should get in the way of man’s ultimate vocation, a relationship with God. Closing the doors to “transcendent” truth leads to impoverishment and to a reductionist and totalitarian understanding of the human person and the nature of society. “The cosmos is possessed of an inner logic accessible to human reasoning.” The Holy Father goes on to state that, “this moral reasoning, based on the natural law, is grounded on the Church’s conviction that this law is not a threat to human freedom.” The moral message of Christianity is not a message of constraint but one of liberation, of true freedom. Christians cannot be silent on “certain issues.” There is a tendency to reduce religious freedom to mere freedom of worship without guarantees of respect for freedom of conscience. “There is no realm of worldly affairs which can be withdrawn from the Creator and His Dominion.” Christians, especially Catholics, have a sacred obligation to be a consistent witness of their deepest convictions and contribute to the renewal of society as a whole.

Homosexuality is not a lifestyle that is conducive to the dignity of the human person. It eats away at true human joy and happiness and it is not a good for society. This is no different from the sexual struggles found by others in pornography, masturbation, and sex outside of the marriage covenant between a man and woman. These (and many other sexual sins) are all outside of God’s plan for all men and women. When I was getting my counseling degree I was privileged to hear a young man speak about his struggle with homosexuality and his eventual “escape” by the Grace of God from that lifestyle. One thing he always said has stuck with me. He said that he wanted to fight this sin in his life much like a recovering alcoholic wants to fight against the addiction of alcohol. Thus he needed a support group, a willingness to surrender, and personal accountability. Just like for all sinners we need each other, we need to surrender our wills to God’s will, and when we fall, to take responsibility for our actions and continue to fight against our individual vices and bad habits by the Grace of God. After all, He wants us all to be joyful and to go to Heaven. Don’t be fearful of the struggle for God is on your side!

“Here the subliminal influence of Marxist philosophy surfaces: the notion that it is not the consciousness of men that determines their being but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness. It is a moral problem, not a problem of morale.”

“Material security and human relationships unconstrained by any kind of necessity does not set mankind free.”

“Only if the veil of self-deception is torn from their eyes can anyone improve the quality of their lives.”

“Experience has taught me that it is wrong and cruel to suspend judgment, that non-judgmentalism is at best indifference to the suffering of others, at worst a disguised form of sadism.”

Dr. Theodore Dalrymple, British Psychiatrist