I realize it has been a long time since I last posted on this blog. Blame it on a hectic life and a long holiday! It was actually during a long flight to my holiday destination that I watched The BestExotic Marigold Hotel, released in 2011. The film was directed by John Madden and features a stellar cast: Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire), the excellent Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith (the Harry Potter films), Tom Wilkinson, Penelope Wilton, Celia Imrie and Ronald Pickup. This movie is a little gem.
Story is fairly predictable: a group of British retirees, who don’t know each other, lured by the magnificent brochure and promises of the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, decide to basically outsource their retirement to Jaipur in India. Of course nothing is as it seems and, although the hotel, managed by Sonny (Dev Patel), does not live up to it promise, their lives are altered forever.
This is a feel-good movie, so do not expect a true depiction of India – I found Slumdog Millionaire to be much more accurate. Here you see India very much from the eyes of the tourist, in a sea of colour, music and smiles. Not that it is not enjoyable! It is actually a hugee contrast, to be frank England at the beginning of the film is described as a sad and rainy rat hole. Having been to both countries, the truth lies somewhere in the middle :).
If you like British humour, as I do, then this film will be a delight. Each character has its own story, its own specificity, and although the focus is primarily on Judi Dench (I found), each character is equally likeable. Of course here stereotypes are layed up, big time, but for your greatest pleasure. All actors are magnificent, but Maggie Smith steals the show as the bitter, racist old woman.But to be frank I loved all characters, each of them brought something to the story, each of them made me laugh. Even for more difficult, sad scenes, I could not feel sad.
What can I say? Most scenes, most lines are full of humor. Acerb humour, as the British know how to do with perfection. Dev Patel as Sonny adds colour and optimism. I remember so many scenes that I love that I cannot recount them all for you, it would take a lot of space and you would have no incentive to see it!
Some of my favourite lines:
Sonny: [trying to reach a fallen Norman] Let me through, my brother is a doctor.
Graham Dashwood: I'm gay - although nowadays more in theory than in practice.
Jean Ainslie: It's our 40th anniversary, we haven't decided quite how to mark it.Madge Hardcastle: Perhaps a minute of silence.
Overall, don’t try to look too much for hidden meanings, hidden messages, you get what you see: pure entertainment, subtle humor, all in all, I loved it, and I have not loved a movie in a long long time.
Everything will be all right in the end... if it's not all right then it's not the end.