The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Posted By Brie Austin In Category: Film , Reviews

The  Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is the most good-feel uplifting film that I’ve seen in recent memory. The script was elegantly simple, and also profound in it’s raw truths about growing older; the realization that life evolves, and that you’re never too old to be surprised.

 From the opening scene it captures your attention with interesting characters, humor, beautiful cinematography, and individual and collective plots that never lets go. The audience became so invested in the charcters and the outcome of the story, that they looked right past some of the slightly trite symbolisms and metaphors to just sit back and enjoy the ride.

The story begins with the introduction — one by one — of seven British citizens, Judy Dench (the recent widow), Tom Wilkinson (the barrister with a guilty past), Bill Nighy and Penelope Wilton (the broke couple), Ronald Pickup and Cilia Imrie (two singles looking for a change from the older British dating scene), and Maggy Smith (a crabby never-married domestic that needs cheap hip surgery) who are all drawn to “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for the elderly and beautiful” based on an advertisement inspired more by the proprietors hopes than on reality; the hotel is anything but the Best or Exotic.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

The young manager Sonny (Dev Patel), who energy level is on the edge of annoying to his newly-arrived clients, is endearing , and you can’t help but be pulling for him in his attempt against all odds to revive his dad’s hotel. He lacks the the business savvy required to do so but relentlesly holds fo his belief that “everything works out in the end, so if it hasn’t worked out yet, then its not the end”, as he struggles with a hotel well past its prime, his desire to accommodate his new guests, while also pursuing the love of his life Sunaina (the enchanting Tene Desae) a– a relationship that neither her brother or Sonny’s mother approve of.

With such a large central cast and individual dramas that fade in and out of focus, the two hour run-time is well utilized to allow each character to evolve and shine in this city of color and sound.

The film was a true throw-back to quality film making, with every aspect (script, casting, cinematography, directing) in harmony with the other. It was an endearing and engaging film that had the audience laughing out loud one minute wheile stirring emotions the next.

The older ensemble cast clings to the memory of a life gone by –while searching for current relevance and happiness in the presence of an uncertain post-retirement future — only to discover new beginnings in the last third of their lives, with the  younger Sonny and Sunaina grappling with the all the promise, fears and obstacles of early adulthood that is just beginning.

4 stars

See the full cast and crew here

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About Brie Austin

Co-author of I'd Do It Again, he is a columnist/reporter for a variety of magazines in the areas of music, lifestyle, nightlife, travel and business. He also writes business documents and creates copy for websites.

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