Directed by: John Madden
Starring: Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson, Maggie Smith, Penelope Wilton, Ronald Pickup, Celia Imrie, Dev Patel
DVD Release Date: 25th June 2012
If there was ever a film to complain about all your ailments and get flatmates and family to serve you copious cups of tea it’s The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. You’ll fit right in whilst watching this film that follows the lives of seven English seniors (who clearly aren’t so old so as to not be up and acting all over the shop) but who under various circumstances find themselves India-bound to spend their retirement, holiday, or pre-surgery time at what they think is a newly restored hotel “for the elderly and beautiful”, but what turns out to be Sonny Kapur’s (Dev Patel) not-so-good attempt at management. We follow the wealthy Madge (Imrie) as she tries to pick up another husband, Graham (Wilkinson) a high-court judge who decides to return India where he grew up as a boy, Muriel (Smith) a flinchingly racist, retired housekeeper who is promised a cheaper hip replacement in India, Norman (Pickup) still living out a youth of one-night stands (or trying to anyway), Jean and Doug (Wilton and Nighy) a married couple trying to make the best of what retirement funds they have after unsuccessfully investing in their daughter’s internet company, and Evelyn (Dench) a recently widowed housewife who has had to sell her home to cover her late-husbands huge debts. The lot of them soon find their lives beginning to interlink through loneliness or similar circumstances but they all come together to help Sonny with salvaging both the Marigold hotel and the girl he loves, and find their own lives gathering new meaning along the way.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is surprisingly one that can be enjoyed by people of all ages, not just those looking for hip replacements and senior partners. The humour is sharp as it contradicts certain age stereotypes and plays to others (for example Muriel’s racism only shows her naivety and why oh why are there only banisters along a wall when an elderly person may want to walk through a room, not around it?) Whilst the film is not exactly completely unique it certainly captures a wonderful British/Indian feel-good factor that leaves you with a craving for a Korma as big as your face (and a proper Indian one, not a local cheap take-away one.) In fact that would probably be the best way to enjoy this film. Get your family, shove them all in a room, cook the biggest Indian your spice rack can muster, watch the Marigold and be blown away (by the curry, not the film.) Whilst the hot food may leave you thirsty, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel will quench your film thirst as it provides a humorous, loving and ultimately feel-good tone that would create a fine movie in anyone’s collection.