Seldom do we have movies which tackle yoga as plot but it was a welcome window in the 2000 movie The Next Best Thing top billed by pop-icon turned actress Madonna. Director John Schlesinger and Screenwriter Tom Ropelewski and the rest of the cast and crew were able to present that Yoga, being a plot in a movie, does not lack that dramatic necessity of conflict. Just try to figure out and visualize the conflict or struggle between muscles when you’re trying to lift your foot behind your head in the eka pada sirasan or leg-head pose.
Is it not the stuff of cinema? The power and effectiveness of Yoga was clearly manifested in The Next Best Thing where Madonna played a yoga teacher who has a baby with her gay best friend played superbly by Rupert Everett. Driving instructor Abbie (Madonna) has no problems getting her students to bend over backwards and tie themselves into knots for her. But in life she can’t seem to find anyone to tie the knot with her. Robert (Everett), her best friend and confidant, is having equally dismal luck finding his Mr. Right.
When Abbie’s relationship ended , she turned to homosexual Robert for comfort and advice. Under alcohol spirit they resulted into an unexpected tryst which made Abbie pregnant and decided to have the child. The two then committed to being good parents and created an unconventional but loving home for their precocious son, Sam (Stumpf). Now comes the yoga skills which Abbie used to remain celibate but she finally relented when she met Ben (Bratt). Robert’s father image was threatened with the romance between Abbie and Ben.
This was followed by tensions specially when Abbie and Ben planned to marry each other. Thereafter the movie pictured the family exploding over a heart-wrenching custody battle for Sam. Everett sparkles and Madonna oozes her usual cool in this drama/comedy from the director Schlesinger. Madonna 2 Yoga Journal and USA Today have made much of the authenticity of the yoga scenes in the movie. Madonna, a student of ashtanga yoga, brought in her own teachers, Kimberly Flynn and Noah Williams, to be consultants on the film.
They advised on decor, class instruction, and fashion. “This really is the first time yoga has been taken seriously on a film project,” Flynn told USA Today. (qtd in Yoga at the Movies by Sherry Roberts). Yoga students can relate to scenes in the movie such as that of Benjamin Bratt’s first yoga class (he eventually becomes Madonna’s fiance in the movie). Toned and muscular Bratt falls over, peeks during chanting, and quickly realizes yoga brings a whole new dimension to “being in shape.
” Perhaps the most refreshing scenes in the movie are seeing children practicing yoga: Madonna’s 7-year-old son (Malcolm Stumpf) leads a pretend yoga class with his friends in the backyard and later pulls up a mat and moves into the asanas (poses) right along with the adults in yoga class. (Roberts) Aside from the entertainment derived from the movie, presenting Yoga as the plot made the viewers really benefit from the true insights of the calming exercise with its physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual effects.
The public was able to cultivate their own garden with Yoga by discovering the tools that can bring each of us in touch with our true nature through. In addition to greater strength, flexibility, and a re-sculpted body, Yoga is one of the best stress busters one can utilize. The movie is not only about Yoga but also a story of love and family with all its fold, twist, and mutilation of those intertwining concepts. The characters find that inner peace is always susceptible to outside and traditional factors. What is good is that there is compromise.
which is a big part of yoga. The movie may be more about yoga than it first appears but it is more important that in the end, the conflict was resolved in true yogic fashion, by moving on. Madonna 3 Works Cited Roberts, Sherry. “Yoga at the Movies. ” 2001-2007. Yoga Bound for Yoga in the Movies. 5 December 2007 < http://www. yogabound. com/yoga/art_at_the_movies. htm>. Schlesinger, John and Ropelewski, Tom. “The Next Best Thing. ” 2000. 5 December 2007<http://movies. go. com/the-next-best-thing/c790385/drama>.