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The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

What she said:

She

People often think that coming-of-age tales can only be told about youths.  Well, I’m here to tell you that even old people can still come-of-age.  And that’s exactly the premise of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.  The movie is about a bunch of retirees now in their golden years, except things have not been so golden for any of them.  Financially, they cannot afford to retire the way they want to, and so they’re enticed to India by the promise that they’ll be able to settle down in the luxurious Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.  The problem is that when they get there, they realize the hotel is not all that it’s made out to be. In fact, it’s pretty darn bad.  Some of the rooms don’t even have doors, most of the tenants have to share a bathroom, there’s bugs, and the food, well the food doesn’t exactly agree with many of them.

None of the characters can afford to go home, and so they must all make the best of it, and each does so in their own way.  Some explore the local city, others obsess over the luxuries of back home, and one even goes out and gets a job.  So the tale begins to take shape as the characters are forced to explore who they really are.  The Indian atmosphere brings out the best in some and the worst in others.

This film is a who’s who of older generation actors: Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson, Bill Nighy, and many others.  Dev Patel plays the young hotel manager who is desperate to keep the Best Exotic Marigold afloat, much to his mother’s displeasure.  He’s also desperately in love with a woman that his mother disapproves of.  The movie shows all of its characters realizing their true identities and fates—both young and old.  There is some good comedy throughout, although the storyline does start to drag a little around the third act.  The movie won’t exactly motivate you to plan a vacation to India, but it does push you to recognize that all places and cultures can carry their own beauty. 

Overall, the movie is pretty good.  Definitely worth a rental, particularly if you have parents who are fans of British cinema.

Thumbs mostly up.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

What he said:

He

I don’t know why, but when we think of change – and all the adjustments that go along with that – we often think of our younger years. Becoming an adult, partner, or parent seems to the things we think about when we think of changes that occur in our lives. Maybe it’s because we’re too busy living in the moment, scared of getting older, or a combination of the two? Regardless, your “golden years” do require a period of adjustment and that’s the topic of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.  

It’s about a group of strangers who have just hit that point in life where they can’t or don’t have to work anymore, and aren’t quite sure what to do with themselves. One thing they all agree on is that The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is the place where they are going to spend their retirement. Some of them are there by choice, others for financial reasons.  One thing they all have in common is they are in a foreign country and the hotel doesn’t exactly live up to its brochure. The place is run by a well-meaning – but in over his head – young man named Sonny (Dev Patel). He is a dreamer and has a grand vision for what this hotel can be, but it’s not quite there yet. Not even close. So in addition to the culture shock, the new guests must also deal with fact that the place isn’t quite up to their previous standards of living.
The film boasts and all-star cast of Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson, and Billy Nighy. Even Dev Patel is pretty well-known; after his performance in Slumdog Millionaire. The cast portrays a group of characters from all walks of life who have come to this retirement community for a variety of reasons. They all have their hang-ups and this shared adventure is an experience for all of them; Sonny included.

I remember seeing the Blu-ray sitting around the house and thinking, “What is this?” I had absolutely no idea what it was about. Sometimes it’s fun to go into a movie with that mindset.

This movie had a very straight-forward and simple message, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a good one. I found it to be a very heartwarming and entertaining little movie. it might be about elderly, but it’s certainly got themes we can all identify with. It’s also quite funny at times.

Rating: Thumbs up.

This movie review was written for your reading pleasure on October 23, 2012.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel