The Cinema

Today I bought a year membership to an artsy cinema (for just £5, and every movie ticket I buy is discounted! Love being a student!). And tonight I watched my first movie there.

I saw The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. You may be wondering why that movie is considered artsy as it was widely released in the US and has a ton of huge stars in it.

Well, it was showing as part of a month-long celebration/awareness of older audiences that is going on throughout all of Scotland. In Britain, people who are 45+ make up the largest demographic of movie-goers (36%), and right now there are more and more movies being released which focus on the challenges faced by this group, or with a cast predominantly in that age group. This film included both.

Brief synopsis: seven elderly Brits (who have never met) find themselves in unprecedented and unfavorable living situations (or impending situations) and they all decide to move to India to live in the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, a hotel geared toward senior citizens. There they form new friendships, love interests, and realize that there is something more to live for each day.

One thing I loved about this movie (which is a particular weakness of my writing) is how they balanced seven characters arcs and plot lines in such a way that you grew attached to each character (or grew to abhor them, as the case may be). For a movie to survive, it must have at least two plot lines. To be good, it should have several more. There is the primary character and their goal. The world problem that should be solved. Secondary characters and their development. Character development for the main character that coincides with the world problem and their goal (this is the emotional plot line, and although it isn’t the primary plot, it is often the one we care about the most. Or as my professors would label it, it’s the actual story, not the plot).

Then some stories take it beyond that, having several main character whose goals and world problems may intertwine but each are equally important to the progression and you can’t really say who’s the main character or most important (The Lord of the Rings is the best example I can give you for that).

This movie fell under that category. I suppose you could say Judi Dench’s character was the main character, but her story was told only in more detail only by a fraction comparatively. The character/plot arcs coincided beautifully, like the water in this fountain.

Another thing I loved about the movie was seeing some accomplished British actors in roles unlike what I’ve seen them in before. Bill Nighy played such a sweet, tender husband (with a completely undeserving and wretched wife). I seriously wanted to hug him in every scene. And Maggie Smith played a cantankerous, severely racist woman who was recovering from hip replacement. She of course, had a marvelous change of heart.

All in all, I really enjoyed the movie. Don’t see it if you want to be entertained, see it if you want to think.

What I took away: The market for movies appealing to older generations is opening up…and I might should consider writing something in that market. Though I imagine I’d have to do extensive research to really understand the needs of that market. Also, something I need to do in my writing is to write out each character’s arc, make sure I fill in gaps, and if the fill can cover more than one character’s gap, all the better.

I bought tickets for eight more movies this month (and most of them are anime films that haven’t been released outside of Japan yet. Stoked!). I’m super excited to delve into interesting films!

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