Friday, June 1, 2012

MOVIE REVIEW: Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Director: ... John Madden

Writers: ... OK Parker (screenplay), Deborah Moggach (novel)

Judi Dench ... Evelyn Greenslade
Tom Wilkinson ... Graham Dashwood
Patrick Pearson ... Graham's colleague
Hugh Dickson ... Judge
Bill Nighy ... Douglas Ainslie
James Rawlings ... Estate Agent
Penelope Wilton ... Jean Ainslie
Maggie Smith ... Muriel Donnelly
Lucy Robinson ... Judith
Ronald Pickup ... Norman Cousins
Celia Imrie ... Madge Hardcastle
Dev Patel ... Sonny
Tena Desae ... Sunaina
An optimistic Indian man decides to open the hotel he inherited from his father as a home for seniors. Why not outsource old age to India? His vision is that the place will be so lovely that seniors will simply refuse to die.

English seniors come for various reasons: Evelyn, who's been recently widowed, was left in debt and does not want to move in with her children. The Ainslies cannot afford much more than the hotel on his civil servant wages. Graham Dashwood comes to find his past. Muriel just needs her hip replaced and she doesn't want to wait six months in pain for that to happen.

Of course, the hotel isn't quite what they expected. It's a work in progress, according to Sonny. Doors are not on rooms, the phones do not work, etc. For some, India is a beautiful place. Others, it's hell.

One thing is certain, you never stop growing, even when you are growing old. Yes, growth is painful, particularly when you have well-established habits and expectations. But as Sonny says: "Everything will be all right in the end... if it's not all right then it's not the end."

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel definitely plays to an older audience. The average attendee last Saturday was about seventy. If you're a fan of British comedy, particularly Dames Judith and Maggie, you'll still very much enjoy the film. The setting is bright and colorful, not quite Bollywood, but beautiful. And yes, there's poverty and pain as well, which only makes the beauty more poignant.

I've been a fan of Dev Patel ever since Slumdog Millionaire. He's an amazing presence on-screen and can even stand up to powerhouses like Smith and Dench. This show gives you a bit more of his whimsical, comedic side with just a bit of romance thrown in.

The movie was well worth the matinee price and my spouse said he'd even pay full price for it. I doubt this is one we'd add to our collection of DVDs, but I'd watch if it came on television.

Rebecca McFarland Kyle, June 2012

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