The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel gives you mixed feelings about growing older. On one hand, it makes you worry that you could reach old age and be in a precarious position financially, physically and emotionally. On the other hand, it gives you hope that there is still plenty of love, pleasure, beauty and fun awaiting you.
Seven British retirees find themselves at a cross-roads in their lives and all end up “outsourcing” their retirement in less-expensive India at the “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for the Elderly and Beautiful”, run by the youngest of three sons (Dev Patel – “Slumdog Millionaire”) who is determined to make a success of the shell of a hotel is father left him. He’s also determined to marry a girl who his mother doesn’t approve of. But that’s just a separate little storyline to keep younger whipper-snappers interested.
The seven people quickly form bonds, tied together by their uncertainty about their decision to move to India, their interconnected relationships and their desire to carve out a good life for themselves, for whatever time they have left.
When I watch a movie or TV show, I play a little game with myself in which I try to guess the outcome of the story within the first 10 minutes. When my guesses turn out to be correct, I admonish the show for being totally predictable. When I’m wrong, I delight in being taken along on an unpredictable ride. The latter was the case with The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.
The cinematography deserves special mention in this film. On the up side, they captured the colors and mood of India very well. They also knew how to treat their characters, placing them in very specific lighting to convey the tone, mood, and their personality. Judi Dench got the best treatment, being given beautiful colors to wear, gorgeous colors of painted wall to stand beside and flattering lighting that played up her white hair, light blue eyes and the darkness of her life she is emerging from. Many of her scenes were like pieces of artwork. On the down side, the scenes of traveling through the streets of India, narrowly escaping cars, semi’s and cows was unnecessarily frenetic. We wanted to shout: “Okay, okay, it was crazy and dangerous! We get it!”
The acting in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was excellent but how could it not be with actors such as Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Penelope Wilton, Celia Imrie, Tom Wilkinson and Bill Nighy, who, between them have recently appeared in the Harry Potter series, Pirates of the Caribbean, Bridget Jones’ Diary and Downton Abbey, often times together?
See The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel with a date, the person you intend to grow old with, your dear friends or your elderly parents. You’ll laugh, cry, be inspired, feel adventurous and pretty hopeful about what life holds in store.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel opens May 4 and is rated PG-13.
– Courtney, CO