Monday, 12 March 2012

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

"Everything will be all right in the end... if it's not all right then it's not the end."
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a feel good film about a group of British pensioners who forgo to the traditional Rest Home in Eastbourne or Villa in Spain and instead decide to spend their golden years in Jiapur, India in a Hotel run by enthusiastic young Sonny (Dev Patel). The film features a mix of stereotypical middle class pensioners which includes Widow Judi Dench, unhappily married Bill Nighy and Penelope Wilton, retired High Court Judge Tom Wilkinson, grumpy, racist Maggie Smith and singletons Celia Imrie and Ronald Pickup. Quite a cast!

Upon arriving in India each character copes differently with the culture shock with some settling in as though they’ve lived there all their lives, others trying to experience all the country has to offer and some staying hidden in their rooms in case they see or taste something different to their norm. There are love interests and surprises but on the whole the plot is fairly predictable. It is funny though. I laughed along on multiple occasions with the entirely OAP audience I saw the film with. It is obviously aimed at older cinema goers but can definitely be enjoyed by all age groups.

The cast of The Avengers 4: Vacation

The acting is great across the board but it is Britain’s go to Indian Dev Patel who comes out on top. His character is frantic and funny, caring and loveable. He does a great job by giving the film real heart. His is a great performance. Bill Nighy was also very likeable but he was basically just playing his usual slightly stoned old guy character. Tom Wilkinson showed interesting emotional touches and there was no real weak link, as you’d expect from a cast of this calibre.

India looks and sounds beautiful. While it’s not particularly difficult to fill the screen with beauty and colour when a film is set in India, it still looks fantastic and the music had me tapping along throughout. I could listen to the sitar all day. (Look up Ravi Shankar if you are unfamiliar with Indian music. It. Is. Sublime.)   

Patel playing 'whose a lucky bugger' again with his love interest.

This is a very good film on the whole but there were some problems. Firstly, Judy Dench’s character manages to get a job within a couple of days despite never having had a job before in her life. The film also glossed over the poverty of the country with only a passing mention to the financial and social problems that millions of its citizens face. Maggie Smith’s characters transformation from racist old biddy to zen master/financial whizz seemed a little far fetched and felt a bit too convenient.

Despite these problems, it is a lovely film with plenty to like. Not least the wonderful love stories which feature throughout. It is also very funny and well written and acted and would recommend it to anyone, young or old.


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