Tag Archives: India

Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

21 Oct

While I usually leave movie reviews to my friend and fellow blogger, Feminéma, I felt very compelled to review Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.  This movie fits perfectly into the issues addressed by TSM — issues of race, gender, sexual orientation, and social justice.

The tremendously talented ensemble cast make this movie an extraordinary treat, as they tackle aging, racism, marginalization, homophobia, and end of life issues. Tom Wilkinson is exceedingly convincing as a gay retired man returning to India to reconnect with the love of his life.  Wilkinson’s real life wife, Diana Hardcastle, plays the delightful easygoing Carol, who is eager to embrace her life. Former Absolutely Fabulous star, Celia Imrie, does an amazing job of a woman also wanting to reinvent herself, but also scared of what that might look like.

Another quite lovely and somewhat complicated story line is that of Penelope Wilton’s character, Jean and the demise of her marriage to Douglas, played by Bill Nighy (who was also brilliant in Love Actually). The story of Jean and Douglas is bittersweet and at times difficult to watch as they both wrestle with what they want their respective lives to look like during the autumn of their lives.  Penelope Wilton does a marvelous job of showing how many women of her age live fear based lives that can be paralyzing.  Juxtaposed with Jean, we have the recently widowed Evelyn, played by Judi Dench.  Evelyn is a picture of the complexities of a woman experiencing grief and at the same time living with great intentionality and pushing herself to forge a new life on her own terms. Rounding out the cast is the always marvelous Maggie Smith, whose racist character shows hidden depths as the bitterness of her first scene is explained and we get to watch her grow in ways that surprise even her.

In total, I found the movie to be inspirational and offers great hope.  There are times when it is nice to just watch a movie and leave feeling fueled.  I felt very nourished after watching this film, and extend an invitation to TSM readers to rent Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.  

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Performing on the World Stage: Presidential or Pratfall?

7 Jan

Not Again!

As the United States has been absorbed in the absurd circus that is the Republican Presidential hopefuls, the media have taken a very American focus on the candidates: What does it mean for us? There is plenty of talk about taxes, budgets, abortion, and the GOP big three (God, guns, and gays). What gets largely overlooked, other than the occasional reference to Iraq and Afghanistan, is our role as a major nation on the world stage. We know that Mitt Romney is a Mormon flip-flop robot, Newt Gingrich is a serial adulterer with a temper, Ron Paul is a faux Libertarian who can’t be bothered to read a newsletter published under his own name, and Rick Santorum is obsessed with men having sex with men. What we don’t know is how any of these candidates would deal with international politics.

As Americans,  shouldn’t we be also asking how will the President of the United States (leader of the “free” world) interact with other major players and show both diplomacy and leadership?  The US took a colossal hit in our world reputation during the George W. years.  The world took a collective sigh of relief when President Obama took office.

I’m asking people to think about how any of the GOP candidates will work with  Prime Minister Yousaf Gillani, or Prime Minister Wen Jiabao?  We also need to look at the very delicate balance of power and influence of  Erdoğan on the world stage.  The world does not look kindly upon bullies and the GOP have proven through the ad nauseam debates that they are nothing but a bigoted bunch of bullies.  What worries me even more is how many of the GOP candidates even know who the world players are. Can they point them out on a map?

When we look at issues of healthcare and how we treat human beings, we need to be willing to learn from our world neighbors.  Currently, the United States comes in at 12th place on issues such as: Life Expectancy, Adult Literacy, School Enrollment, GDP per capita.  Might we need to look to  Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda for ideas around health care?

While I certainly want our President to be a leader for civil rights here in the United States (pro-reproductive rights for women, pro-marriage equality, work to change the distribution of wealth and power) I also want a President that can show true leadership with a calm and clear head, such as President Obama.  We must avoid the shackles of ignorance and isolationism.

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