Reviewed by: Curtis McParland
demands of a traditional Indian weddings
marriage in the Bible
Is formalized marriage becoming obsolete? Answer
Some people are convinced that traditional marriages don’t work and that this practice should be abandoned. What does the Bible say about marriage?
|Featuring:||Judi Dench … Evelyn Greenslade
Maggie Smith … Muriel Donnelly
Richard Gere … Guy
Bill Nighy … Douglas Ainslie
David Strathairn … Ty Burley
Dev Patel … Sonny Kapoor
Penelope Wilton … Jean Ainslie
|Director:||John Madden—“The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” (2011), “The Debt” (2010), “Shakespeare in Love” (1998)|
|Distributor:||Fox Searchlight Pictures|
Prequel: “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” (2011)
Romance returns in the second chapter of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel story. But this time around, the owners want to take a step forward and acquire an additional hotel. However, it becomes a complicated process, since the future Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel needs a lot of work, and they just don’t have the money yet.
This causes a stressful time for soon to be married Sonny Kapoor (Dev Patel), though, since he not only has his own wedding to worry about but also an unknown hotel inspector visiting to evaluate the new hotel project. A good handful of the originals from the first film return, including Judi Dench as Evelyn Greenslade, Bill Nighy as Douglas Ainslie, and Maggie Smith as Muriel Donnelly. Sonny’s predicament is not the only story happening in this two hour romantic comedy. Love affairs, crumbling relationships, and tough life decisions are just a handful of the many mini subplots that merge together in “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”.
The second film in this popular franchise does not fall short of romantic and dramatic storytelling. However, although the story flows quite smoothly from beginning to end, I found some of the dialog rather dull, at times, and unengaging. The subplots are interwoven well and come together nicely in the end. But the film drags from time to time, as we continuously jump back and forth amongst stories. However, this film is filled with beautiful landscape shots of India, and the overall cinematography is to be well respected. Of course, the performances need to be applauded as well as Dev Patel and Judi Dench provide solid, believable performances. The film seems somewhat empty, though. There is a storytelling element missing that needs to help drive the plot forward. There is a little too much going on at times. The film is still somewhat enjoyable, but director John Madden does not show us what he is fully capable of.
The film contains some suggestive content and mild language. For a romantic comedy, though, it was refreshing to see no sexual content displayed on screen. However, we do see some women in swimwear, revealing gowns, and some suggestive dance moves. There is occasional light flirting amongst characters, some kissing between couples, and a very mild sex reference that will most likely fly over young viewers heads. The term “pimping out” is used, affairs are lightly implied, and a character is seen reading 50 Shades of Grey, as a young girl looks over her shoulder.
Sonny tries to set his mother up with one of the hotel’s guests, much to her resistance. Sonny even goes as far to say, “The man is so handsome, he makes me question my own sexuality” (played for laughs, of course). A man is accused of adultery by his separated wife (he is not guilty) and one other reference to adultery is made, as well. An unmarried woman has a mentioned affair with another man, and a handful of other subtle suggestive comments are made. Also, an unmarried man and woman go into a room together. Sex is not implied (then), but we do see them walking outside together the next morning, and the woman later reveals that “he was her first since her husband died,” unfortunately implying sex. The same goes for the divorced man, but he also says that she “…can be his last.” These lines of dialog are very subtle, though.
In terms of crude and profane language, the script is limited to about a half-dozen abuses of God’s name, one unfortunate abuse of Jesus’ name, one use of the phrase “p*ss off,” and a handful of British profanities, including the terms “bloody” and “bullocks”. There is no violence to be concerned about, but one character is nearly hit by a car as a man pulls her back just in time. There is no drug content or apparent smoking in the film, and alcohol consumption is limited to a few glasses of wine being displayed and consumed.
There are some additional negative elements that may be concerning to some viewers, as well. There are no references to any form of spirituality, and the closest we get is seeing an Indian wedding ceremony displaying some slightly questionable rituals. A character’s (separated) wife shows up unexpectedly in India, harshly asking her husband for a divorce, since she was recently proposed to by her boyfriend.
Lying and deception play a small theme in the film, without much consequence, as well. Another character does not fully understand “why one would marry” and that “some things aren’t worth the wait.” These two quotes I find problematic.
“Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
“The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” still displays marriage in a positive light, though, as Sonny stays dedicated to his bride to be throughout the many obstacles he faces. Unfortunately, the consequences of sexual immorality and adultery are not on display. God’s Word is very clear, though:
There are some pleasant, positive themes weaved into the tale of “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.” No matter how old you may be (as the film suggests), you can still find love and never be too old for it. There are tenderhearted themes of being “young at heart,” as older couples pursue relationships and try to live in the moment—seeing life as a priceless gift. The sanctity of marriage is on display, and the themes of repentance and forgiveness play a role, as well. Although one character prioritizes unimportant tasks over his relationships, he later realizes his wrongdoings and neglect and seeks forgiveness. Ephesians 4:32 says,
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
The same character also falsely accuses a friend of pursuing his fiancée, but later realizes his friend was just trying to help in a situation. Unfortunately, though, we never see him apologize.
”Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” —1 Corinthians 13:4-7
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”
This film shows that love can be quite complicated at times and that relationships (especially romantic ones) should not be taken for granted. It is about unity—forming a bond between two individuals. Through trial and error, friendships are restored and made stronger.
“The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” may not be the best entertainment choice out there, but it is definitely one of the safest options (for mature audiences) within the romance genre these days. To its advantage, it does contain some strong, positive, thought-provoking themes at its core. I’d recommend this film mainly for the adult audience. Not that the content is too strong for children, but mainly for the fact that younger audiences will find this film just plain boring and will not fully understand its mature themes.
“PG” rated romantic comedies are rarely heard of these days, so if you find yourself in the mood for a warm, yet dramatic romantic comedy with beautiful scenery, I would recommend you give this film a watch. I do not approve of the profane language used or the suggestive content, but these more mature themes may open up some doors and make a good discussion topic for followers of Christ who are struggling with friendships, romantic relationships, and, perhaps, even marriages.
Violence: Minor / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Moderate
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.