Movie Reviews

‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’: Retirement woes

By Wang DexianMovies - 16 May 2012 12:00 AM

‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’: Retirement woes

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

The Cast: Tom Wilkinson, Bill Nighy, Judi Dench, Dev Patel

The Buzz: Based on the 2004 novel, ‘These Foolish Things’, the movie is the latest offering from director John Madden, who is probably most famous for 1998's surprise hit ‘Shakespeare in Love’.

The Story: A group of British retirees, for different reasons of their own, decide to get out of their lives and relocate to India to spend their retirement after viewing enticing advertisements for the newly restored Marigold Hotel, a home for “the Elderly and Beautiful”.

However, they run into a problem when they got there, realizing that the hotel isn't what’s advertised but just a mere shadow of its former self. Together, the retirees undergo a new phase of their lives in uncomfortable surroundings. thinks: While the idea of sitting down and watching a group of geriatrics having fun in India might not sound particularly appealing to some, the movie is surprisingly funny and just a ball of joy to watch. Armed with smart writing that is filled with some very memorable characters as well as the exotic sights of India, the movie just flat out works.

A lot of the subject matter is very relatable: Relationship stagnation, loneliness, financial woes and lifelong regret are all expounded in the story, and much of it told in a way that's so true that it may hit too close to home for some people. But it is softened by a genuinely funny tone that balances out the heavy themes of death and other slightly depressing subjects.

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Of course, in this instance, having such a talented cast with veteran actors like Tom Wilkinson, Bill Nighy and Judi Dench sure helps a lot in giving these characters added dimensions without overplaying the parts they play.

These actors pull their weight in every scene, easily imbuing their characters with charm, wit and vulnerability as they face their personal demons in a foreign land. In addition, their backstory are interesting and well fleshed out.

Watching how their histories and unfinished businesses get affected by their stay in India, with some thriving and some failing to adapt is an entertaining experience. This really prevents the characters from becoming stereotypical one note characters.

The result? A fresh and charming movie with a very mature tone to it.

Granted, it does all feel like it's bound to lead to an uplifting end, but one can't argue with the results. ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ is moving and comforting filmmaking at its best, with the opportunity of watching some of Britain's finest actors having the freedom to explore toying with the appropriate and exact emotions.

It's hard to complain, as sitting back and just watching them go to work is a light breezy ride. The movie will certainly appeal to a certain age group because of the nature of the story, but make no mistake; it makes for a great vacation no matter the age. A sincerely funny and feel good movie which proves that new beginnings can be made even at the tail end of a journey.

‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ is showing in theatres everywhere.