Release Date (UK) – Friday 24th February 2012
Runtime – 124 minutes
Director – John Madden
Country – UK
Certificate (UK)- 12
Starring – Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Dev Patel, Tom Wilkinson, Penelope Wilton, Billy Nighy
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel tells the story of a group of retirees who, all for their own reasons, decide they would rather spend their golden years in India than Britain. The hotel in question, however, is less than ideal; having been photoshopped in the brochures and online. Dev Patel (of Slumdog Millionare fame) plays Sonny, the manager of the hotel; with a big heart but a tiny budget he goes about creating the hotel of his dreams. When his key investor seems to be backing out and his judgmental mother starts moving in, the residents stand by him and work to keep the hotel alive. Meanwhile, love blossoms in unexpected places and a forbidden romance fights to survive. ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for the elderly and beautiful’ is a place where dreams come to live and the residents refuse to die.
With one of the most optimistic catch phrases in film, Dev Patel reminds he co-stars, “It will be alright in the end so if it is not alright, then it is not yet the end.” and of course he’s right. Although the film isn’t entirely without its heart-wrenching moments, it presents something so simple and heart-warming that you find you can’t look away. The cast is the best of British talent including the amazing pairing of Dames’ Judi Dench and Maggie Smith alongside Bill Nighy, Celia Imrie, Penelope Wilton and Tom Wilkinson. It’s cleverly crafted plot using them all to brilliant effect.
The scripting works well thought out and comes across as very natural and realistic. Although some of the plot devices could be considered cliché, for example the reference to ‘delhi-belly’, it is only in the sense that they are actually things that occur when people visit a new place (especially one as amazing and chaotic as India), rather than a lack of inspiration or imagination on the part of the writers. The film is based on Deborah Moggach’s touching novel These Foolish Things, which questions how to spend the last years of your life, the film, however, seems to take on an almost Carry On feel, with hilarity ensuing from every situation.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is perfect for adults of all ages, and for fans of any of the wonderful cast members who star in it. The scenery is rustic yet romantic, providing an outstanding backdrop and education for those who watching who have never been to India, and sparking pleasant memories for those who have. It portrays the zest for life that India has and as one character remarks, the way Indian’s see life as a privilege. The film identifies many stereotypes such as how the British hate old people, to humorous effect, touching on cultural boundaries but never in judging way.
With romance, friendship and culture, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel brings together a talented cast and a beautiful story which will no doubt do wonders for the tourist trade in Jaipur from the moment of its release.