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 http://lamarhuntjrcounseling.com/.