Monday, April 13, 2015

Review: First Trip to "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" Was Quite Lovely

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 16 (of 2015) by Leroy Douresseaux

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2012)
Running time:  124 minutes (2 hours, 4 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for sexual content and language
DIRECTOR:  John Madden
WRITER:  Ol Parker (based on the novel, These Foolish Things, by Deborah Moggach)
PRODUCERS:  Graham Broadbent and Peter Czernin
EDITOR:  Chris Gill
COMPOSER:  Thomas Newman
Golden Globes nominee

COMEDY/DRAMA with elements of romance

Starring:  Judi Dench, Tom Wilkinson, Bill Nighy, Penelope Wilton, Maggie Smith, Ronald Pickup, Celia Imrie, Dev Patel, Tina Desai, Lillete Dubey, Paul Bhattacharjee, Neena Kulkarni, Rajendra Gupta, and Lucy Robinson

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a 2012 British comedy-drama from director John Madden.  The film is based on the 2004 novel, These Foolish Things, from English author Deborah Moggach.  The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel focuses on a group of British retirees who travel to India to take up residence in a newly restored hotel that is not quite ready for prime time.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel opens in present day Great Britain and introduces a group of British retirees and AARP types.  Recently widowed housewife, Evelyn Greenslade (Judi Dench), is forced to sell the home she shared with her late husband in order to cover the huge debts he left.  Jean and Douglas Ainslie (Penelope Wilton and Bill Nighy) are searching for a retirement they can afford; they lost most of their savings through investing in their daughter's Internet business.

Muriel Donnelly (Maggie Smith) is a retired housekeeper who is need of a hip replacement operation.  Her doctor informs her that she can have it done far more quickly and inexpensively in India than she can in the U.K., but Muriel hates Indians (as well as every other person of color).  Madge Hardcastle (Celia Imrie) is searching for another husband.  Aging lothario Norman Cousins (Ronald Pickup) still wants to have sex with young women, but now, he needs to find a new place to try and re-capture his youth.  These six people decide to spend their retirement at a hotel in India, based only on the pictures on the hotel's website.

Meanwhile, high-court judge, Graham Dashwood (Tom Wilkinson), spent the first eighteen years of his life in India; he suddenly decides to retire and return there.  When these Brits arrive at The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, they find it dilapidated.  The hotel's energetic young manager, Sunil Indrajit “Sonny” Kapoor (Dev Patel), promises that he will make the hotel look like what the website promises.  Now, everyone has to deal with the unexpected, and some are better at that than others.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is simply frothy feel-good entertainment – nothing more, nothing less.  The characters are interesting, but not especially well-developed.  There are so many of them that screenwriter Ol Parker cannot really develop them in the amount of the film's running time that actually involves storytelling, which is less than its stated 100 minutes running time.

But, boy, did I enjoy this movie anyway.  The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is sweet and charming, and its cast of veteran (some would say “senior citizen”) actors makes it a rare treat in a landscape of movies about children and 20-somethings saving the world.  Loving and wanting-to-be-loved are not exclusively the domain of lovelorn teens and the newly-turned middle-aged.  Yearning and striving for the good life:  well, old folks can want that, also.  That is why I am glad that this funny, heartwarming, and sometimes heartbreaking film is here to be enjoyed again and again.  The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a good place for movie lovers to visit or even to stay.

7 of 10

Friday, March 27, 2015

2013 Golden Globes, USA:  2 nominations: “Best Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical” and “Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical” (Judi Dench)

2013 BAFTA Awards:  1 nomination: “Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film” (John Madden, Graham Broadbent, Peter Czernin, and Ol Parker)

The text is copyright © 2015 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site for syndication rights and fees.

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