“Marigold Hotel” Is
Best Exotic Destination
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
My son called to tell me about a movie he saw this weekend, “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.” He said, “It’s kind of like a ‘Grand Canyon’ for an older generation” – comparing it to the 1991 Laurence Kasdan film about six diverse people whose lives intertwine in modern-day Los Angeles. I told him it reminded me a bit of “Enchanted April,” that 1992 film about several Brits coming together for a holiday at a coastal castle in Italy.
I think we may both be right.
“The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” – based on Deborah Moggach’s book “These Foolish Things” – is currently playing at the Tropic Cinema.
Directed by John Madden (“Shakespeare in Love”), this sweet film tells of disparate people who retire to the newly restored Marigold Hotel in India. As it turns out, these seven British retirees have been sold a bill of goods, the promise of a leisurely, unstressed lifestyle at this exotic locale. Predictably, as such plots require, the hotel is not exactly as advertised. The building is run down, the phones are out of order, the food not to their liking.
One of them says, “Nothing here has worked out quite as I expected.”
Another of the group presciently replies, “Most things don't. But sometimes what happens instead is the good stuff.”
Nevertheless, as our retirees come to terms with their new existence at The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, each is transformed in wondrous ways.
Among our ensemble is a widow forced to sell her home (Judi Dench), a couple who lost their saving in a bad Internet deal (Penelope Wilton and Bill Nighy), a racist woman in search of an inexpensive hip replacement at the hands of Indian doctors (Maggie Smith), a wealthy lady looking for a new husband (Celia Imrie), an aging Romeo on the prowl (Ronald Pickup), and a secretive judge who was raised in India (Tom Wilkinson).
Managing the hotel is the ever-enthusiastic Sonny (Dav Patel of “Slumdog Millionaire”). His disposition cheerful, despite the threat of an arranged marriage and financial problems that may close down the hotel.
Don’t despair. This is a Feel Good movie. And it takes place in an exotic part of the world where you’ll enjoy “retiring” for an hour or two.
The only thing missing from this film is Joan Plowright, Jim Broadbent, and Miranda Richardson. But when you retire, you have to accept some downsizing. Even at The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.