Movie Review: “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” – An Adventure At Any Age

Written by Emily McWilliams June 02, 2012

“The  Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” definitely has a niche audience – specifically, a crowd that is on the verge of retirement.  However, the strong cast that features Judi Dench, Tom Wilkinson, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, and Dev Patel, as well as a witty script make this film a charming experience for audiences of all ages.

“Everything will be alright in the end. If it is not alright, it is not yet the end.”

The film centers around a group of British senior citizens, all facing different complications associated with old age: Evelyn (Judi Dench) has recently lost her husband and must deal with his debt; Graham (Tom Wilkinson) is facing retirement; Douglas and Jean (Bill Nighy and Penelope Wilton) are broke after a poor investment; Muriel (Maggie Smith) needs a hip replacement.  These strangers become fast friends when they decide to relocate to The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for the Elderly and Beautiful, located in India.

Upon their arrival, it is clear that the hotel is far from the perfection of the photoshopped images in the brochure.  Run by the energetic but slightly aloof, Sonny Kapoor (Dev Patel), The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel offers a fresh start to these characters who thought their lives were ending.  In the course of their stay, the cast discovers the beauty of India and its culture as they learn about themselves and the lives they want to live.

Clever Dialogue, Strong Cast

Overall the film’s dialogue and plot were very strong and the comedic moments were executed well by the actors.   The film was surprisingly provocative and risqué with some of the one-liners but remained clever and not cheesy.  There were some cringe worthy moments when issues related to erectile dysfunction were brought up but thankfully, these scenes were scarce and used limitedly.

While I was prepared for an unoriginal plot and overused jokes related to old age, I was surprised by the depth of some of the subplots.  Issues related to discrimination, homosexuality, and mortality were all discussed in the film and expertly interwoven.  The large cast did not overwhelm the plot and each character’s story was given individual screen time that merged effectively with the story as a whole.

Not Your Typical Movie About Old Age

The cinematography brought the colours and sights of India to the screen making “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” a film that teemed with adventure and the culture of India.  While it is a tad predictable and slightly idealistic at times, this is a feel-good movie that is suitable for a family viewing.  This is not your typical comedy about old age and is worth a try because of its sharp wit and strong performances from the cast.

My Rating: 7.5/10

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