Review: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

OK, so the title doesn’t exactly grab you  and as you can see by the cast list on the poster this probably won’t be a fast paced, action film or a horror, but I can’t see a film coming along this year that will be as charming and feel-good as this.

The premise is that a group of retirees decide to up sticks and move to India to live out their golden years in a luxury hotel which harks back to the times of the British Empire. What actually confronts them when they arrive is a building on its knees, being run by a young dreamer (Dev Patel) where nothing works and it looks as though it could fall down at any second.

It’s sink or swim for the elderly Brits as some plunge into this new bustling, noisy culture head-first while some find they really can’t handle it. Thrown into the mix are stories of loneliness, desperation, racism, love (both requited and unrequited) and happiness, and what it boils down to is a story of old people who don’t want to be marginalised in society and just want to live their lives like they did when they were young.

There are a load of really funny moments in this film, in fact I can’t remember the last time I laughed quite as much as I did during this. For example, Ronald Pickup’s character trying it on with every woman he comes across culminating with him buying Viagra and studying the Karma Sutra for a night of passion with a woman at a high-class club he joins. Bill Nighy and Penelope Wilton’s married couple realises they both want different things from their retirement. Judi Dench and Celia Imrie play the kind of roles they typically play with Imrie being the flirtatious lush and Dench seeming to play her character from As Time Goes By, though she does manage to get a job at a call centre and start writing a travel blog even though she had no idea what the internet is at the start of the film.

Maggie Smith’s character is the most difficult as she starts off her story by revealing herself as an outspoken racist, which is a little uncomfortable, who needs to go to India for a hip operation. But her interactions with various characters throughout the film changes her perceptions and by the end of the film she becomes one of the most confident and strong characters. Dev Patel gives a strong performance as the struggling young entrepreneur who has a dream of restoring his hotel to its former glory against all the odds. But the stand out performance for me was Tom Wilkinson, who quits his job as a high court judge and jets off to India to tie up some loose ends from his past. His story line is the most tragic and sad, but also the most interesting and involving.

As stated at the top of this review, this isn’t the most exciting film you’ll ever see but it is the funniest film I’ve seen in a long while, and also the first film I’ve seen which truly deserves the tired cliché of ‘feel good film of the year’. Well worth a watch.

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2 Responses to “Review: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”

  1. I think the most important question is: Is there a fixing-the-hotel montage?

    • Actually, there was a point at which there was the threat of a montage, but it seems the film makers saw fit to leave it out. I don’t think ‘The Eye Of The Tiger’ would have quite fit the style of the film myself!

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