The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
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The film follows a group of British retirees who decide to "outsource" their retirement to less expensive and seemingly exotic India. Enticed by advertisements for the newly restored Marigold Hotel and bolstered with visions of a life of leisure; they arrive to find the palace a shell of its former self. Though the new environment is less luxurious than imagined; they are forever transformed by their shared experiences; discovering that life and love can begin again when you let go of the past.
Some of the finest actors in England lend their formidable talents to The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, a charming fish-out-of-water yarn. The Brits, who include Evelyn (Judi Dench), Muriel (Maggie Smith), Douglas (Bill Nighy), and Graham (Tom Wilkinson), are planning retirement in a less expensive country. After "thorough research on the Internet," the group chooses what looks to be a grand, peaceful retreat, the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. It turns out that the bloom is off this marigold--it's shabby, antiquated, and as chaotic as the city in India, Jaipur, where it is set. Who can adapt to this very different retirement experience, and who founders? That question lies at the heart of the plot of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. The cast is uniformly superb, as the retirees bond and bicker and fall out and then try to encourage one another. And Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire) shines as Sonny, the barely-holding-it-together Marigold Hotel manager. Patel and Tena Desae, who plays Sunaina, his girlfriend, are charming yet face adaptation struggles of their own, in a modern-day India still tied strongly to its traditions but rapidly charging into the future. And the young Indians also seem to represent the energetic future, as the Brits represent the old world that's fast falling. At its heart, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, deftly directed by John Madden, is an uplifting journey, allowing the viewer to feel what the retirees are discovering on the screen. When Evelyn sighs, "Nothing here has worked out quite as I expected," Muriel crisply replies, "Most things don't. But sometimes what happens instead is the good stuff." The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is most definitely the good stuff. --A.T. Hurley
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In brief, the film revolves around the coming together of seven elderly and somewhat impecunious Britons who, of their own volition, and quite separately, decide to retire to The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel in Jaipur. They discovered the place on the internet and, as we all should know, the internet can sometimes be a bit misleading. Indeed, this is the case here. The hotel had been billed as a marvelous palace when, in fact, it was tired and chaotic.
The seven visitors form the key members of the cast and are led by Judi Dench, Maggie Smith and Bill Nighy. Some can adjust to the way of life in India while others fail completely. Along the way, we are given a peek into daily life in India in all its colour and noise.
The movie is often funny but always enthralling. I will say no more as to the plot. I have no wish to spoil this film for others. However, I will say that it is money and time very well spent.
By now everyone knows the story of "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel." A group of English retirees decides for various reasons (mostly financial) to move to India. The retirement hotel they choose sounds glorious from the brochure, but turns out to be a rundown, if once-grand, hulk run by a young Indian with much more enthusiasm than skill. A lot of comedy ensues, and a little conflict and tragedy; attitudes are changed, old bonds broken, and new bonds forged.
The ensemble cast of British character actors ranges among the super-famous (Judi Dench, Maggie Smith), the moderately famous (Tom Wilkinson, Bill Nighy, Penelope Wilton) and the not-so-famous (Ronald Pickup, Celia Imrie), with the addition of one young rising star (Dev Patel, of "Slumdog Millionaire" fame). All of them are as charming, funny and touching as they possibly could be. Meanwhile, Madden and screenwriter Ol Parker do an excellent job of blending and articulating the various plotlines, aided by the gorgeous photography by Ben Davis and the insinuating score by Thomas Newman. Considering the effort all these master professionals made to give an audience a good time, it seems churlish to give "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" any less than five stars.
Of course,the movie had the obligatory reference to racism, being Gay, and standing up for the love in your heart woven into the story line in order to make it a proper Hollywood vehicle as well as taking on being widowed, loneliness and codependency.
The corniest part of the movie is when the hotel manager confronts his mother with his love for a girl his mother does not approve and the mother, resolved in her refusal, is suddenly wistfully taken back to a day when she stood for love over the dictates of her parents. Pllllleeeeeessssseeee! Would have been more honest if the mother just disowned the son and they struggled through life courageously.
If you are in a place of stress over the problems in your life and the horrendous things happening in the world's news, a little fantasy where everything works out in the end of a two hour movie might be the relief you need.