Next up in this cavalcade of movie reviews is The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, which seemed to have a casting director who just went to all of the current popular older British actors and then built a story around them. Of course, that’s not true, since there were some actors missing, and the movie is based on a novel called These Foolish Things. But nevertheless, I think it would have been very difficult to go wrong with this movie.
It stars (as you may be able to tell from the poster at left) Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson, Bill Nighy, Celia Imrie, Ronald Pickup, and Penelope Wilton, all as British retirees who have decided to accept an internet offer to move to a retirement hotel in India, run by Dev Patel (of Slumdog Millionaire fame).
Everyone has some reason they’ve ended up there, and it’s typically not positive: Dench’s character’s husband has just died, and because he always “took care of things” for her, she didn’t know that they were very deep in debt and had to sell their flat to pay the debts off. Nighy and Wilton are a married couple who are trying to live off of whatever little pension Nighy has left from his life in a government job, compounded by the fact that they gave a sizeable chunk of money to their daughter for her tech startup and she hasn’t been able to pay them back yet. Smith’s character is a racist who needs a hip replacement, and would have to wait six months to get one in Britain and is put in a program to travel to India to have it done there. And Wilkinson is a retired judge looking for someone he met and loved but lost when he lived in India when he was younger.
And of course, the hotel is not quite what is shown in the brochure or online.
If you’ve seen the previews, you can probably guess how much of the movie is going to go, and that’s okay, because the film does it very well and almost effortlessly. It’s either a light drama, or an ensemble light comedy, but it doesn’t matter. You’ll laugh and possibly cry and really feel for the characters because, of course, they’re all portrayed by amazing actors.
Though after watching two seasons of Downton Abbey, hearing Maggie Smith with a common accent is kind of jarring…
It’s a fun film, an easy to watch film, and well worth the two hours you’ll invest in watching it. Four out of five stars.
See you tomorrow.