It is so refreshing to see a film like this. Very rarely is a film centred solely around a group of older having their ups and downs and not just the stereotype supportive roles they usually receive. On the basis of this film, I hope this is a trend that follows, as it reminds just how great these performers are, well deserving scripts to match.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a slightly run down, chaotic, but charming hotel. That is if your definition of charming includes no doors in bedrooms and dripping taps or if you share the infectious enthusiasm of young owner, Sonny (Dev Patel) who has great dreams for his establishment. The hotel is about to receive “actual paying guests” in the form of an eclectic bunch of Brits looking to retire to India for their various reasons. Newly widowed Evelyn (Judy Dench) is branching out on her own for the first time. Maggie Smith plays wheelchair bound Muriel on the quest for a cheap hip replacement despite her racist tendencies. Tom Wilkinson plays Graham, a former high court judge venturing out to revisit his past. Bill Nighy and Penelope Wilton are a strained couple. Celia Imrie plays a glamorous man hunter and Ronald Pickup, a lonely lothario looking for love. Once they get over the initial shock of the hotel and Jaipur itself, they shall all come to find themselves by getting lost in the beauty of the country and each other.
I must be honest I went into this film thinking I would love it … and I did. The cast are brilliant and there is not one weak performance. Maggie Smith and Ronald Pickup bring in a lot of the laughs and it was great to be in the cinema with so many people laughing out loud and just simply enjoying themselves. Dench and Nighy also portray their roles excellently and I found were very touching. This is also easily Dev Patel’s best role since Slumdog Millionaire and his relationship is a very nicely added layer.
No matter your age this is great British cinema, with the best British talent. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me think and I left the cinema with a smile on my face and retirement plans in my head (I’m 21!) Go see it, you’ll love it!
Martin Barker works in the café bar and when not struggling to balance your meals from the kitchen to the table or watching films, he enjoys live music and exploring new places.