★★★★ - SWITCH
- FALLING IN LOVE WITH INDIA, THE ROLLS ROYCE AND EACH OTHER -
Ashamedly, I was procrastinating watching this film as much as possible. The idea of watching an upper-class man drive around India in a symbol of colonialism had me agreeing to wash the dishes in an attempt to hold off pressing play. And you know what - and you'd only catch me saying this in reference to film - but golly gosh, I love being proven wrong.
As soon as 'Romantic Road' starts, you come to the understanding that Rupert Grey is a walking paradox - a London lawyer and walking oddity of fun self-expression. This documentary is the story of Rupert embracing old age. Content with his life of obscurity and adventure, he sets about conquering retirement with some serious risk-taking. After much research and a lifelong dream, Rupert travels the entire outskirts of India in his father's old Rolls Royce, a gesture quite poignant in its commemoration of both his father and the service of the car to the family.
What's truly wonderful about this film is its formation into a love letter to Jan, Rupert's wife. The documentary becomes an acknowledgment of the role she plays in both the family and in her marriage. She's an enabler of adventure, the voice of logic and a true fit for Rupert. 'Romantic Road' is a summation of how the trip would have been impossible without Jan. At first, I thought the title was in reference to India and the stunning landscapes (which I'm sure still fits into it), but I think it's more a nod to the love shared between the two partners and their willingness to live a bold and colourful life with each other.
In conversation with a friend last week, we discussed the necessity of monogamy. She argued that humans weren't meant to be attracted to only one person for the rest of their life. And maybe for some, that's perfectly correct! However, I'd argue that this film proved her wrong. The documentary doesn't just summarise the obligation we as people have to make our life memorable and full, it summarises the friendship and partnership that comes out of one of the most precious and possibly important human relationship. It's an exploration of loyalty, trust, faith and laughter.
Maybe this film won't be your cup of tea. Maybe you'll think it's the real-life version of 'The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.' Or maybe you're not into the old people romance scene like I am. But one thing you can't take away from this film is its power to inspire you to have your own adventure. I wrote down the top five craziest things I wanted to do in the next three years after watching this movie - and I'd be very surprised if the credits rolled on 'Romantic Road' and you hadn't been motivated to plan your next grand journey.
- Lily Meek, SWITCH
Romantic Road is now playing at Light House Cinema!