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THE MYSTIC MASSEUR

What You Need To Know:

In THE MYSTIC MASSEUR, based on a novel by V. S. Naipaul, a naïve Hindu teacher named Ganesh returns to his rural home on the Caribbean island of Trinidad when his father dies. Ganesh wants to write books. He writes a book answering questions about the Hindu religion, then becomes a mystic handing out sage advice to the people. Ganesh develops a huge following and decides to enter politics. As a politician, he tries to bring better representation to the descendents of the Indians who were brought to the island as slaves.

THE MYSTIC MASSEUR is a comical story. Both Ganesh and the rural folk around him are simple people who aren't very cosmopolitan. The movie also exposes Ganesh's Hindu mysticism as nothing more than psychological tricks based, albeit, on a sincere belief in basic Hindu teachings. As such, the movie maintains a light humanist spin that's more interested in being a character study of a likeable protagonist and the culture in which he lives than being an apologia for Hinduism. The story probably plays better as a novel than as a movie or a play; there's little direction or compelling structure to it.

Content:

(H, PaPa, FR, L, M) Humanist character study, with some references to Hinduism, including a fake religious ceremony to cure a boy from having nightmares; several light obscenities and profanities; no violence; no sex; no nudity; alcohol use; smoking; and, deceit.

More Detail:

THE MYSTIC MASSEUR is based on a novel by Nobel winning author V. S. Naipaul. In the story, a naïve Hindu teacher named Ganesh returns to his rural home on the Caribbean island of Trinidad when his father dies. Ganesh decides he wants to write books. He writes a book answering questions about the Hindu religion, then becomes a mystic handing out sage advice to the people. Ganesh develops a huge following and decides to enter politics. As a politician, he tries to bring better representation to the descendents of the Indians who were brought to the island to be slaves. Although not as successful as he would like, he retains the love for books that spurred him to improve his position in life.

THE MYSTIC MASSEUR is a comical story. It becomes clear right away that both Ganesh and the rural folk around him are simple people who aren’t very cosmopolitan. The movie also exposes Ganesh’s Hindu mysticism as nothing more than psychological tricks based, albeit, on a sincere belief in basic Hindu teachings. As such, the movie maintains a light humanist spin that’s more interested in being a character study of a likeable protagonist and the culture in which he lives than being an apologia for Hinduism. The love of books is the focus here. Of course, as President Teddy Roosevelt said, if you educate a man’s mind but not his heart, all you get is an educated barbarian.

Ultimately, THE MYSTIC MASSEUR plays like a Cliff’s Notes version of people’s love for the written word. The story probably works better as a novel than as a movie or a play; there’s little direction or compelling structure to it.

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