Film Review: THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL

 Directed by John Madden
Written by OL Parker, based on the novel These Foolish Things by Deborah Moggach
Starring: Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Tom Wilkison, Bill Nighy, Penelope Wilton, Dev Patel

Despite promising my husband he would not have to see this film, when he refused to see THE AVENGERS he sealed his fate. The theater was mobbed with the largest group of post-fifties I have ever seen outside of an art house. Does this mean more movies for an older audience will come along? Somehow I doubt it. Every summer one or two movies like this raise my hopes that a renaissance in U.S. summer movies will take place, but I must always wait until autumn.

PLOT: The hotel of the title has fallen on hard times. Its owner, an entrepreneurial Indian, Sonny Kapur (Patel) advertises his establishment in British magazines and on websites as “a retirement destination” for the “the elderly and beautiful.” He gets mostly elderly as a group of discontent Brits travel to India. They adjust or do not adjust in varying degrees to what is a fairly dilapidated, if charming, hotel and country.

But the movie is mostly an opportunity for some of Britain’s finest older actors to do their stuff and none of them allow the opportunity to get away from them. Always colorful, always charming, but always predictable, this was a mixed bag for me. The story lines were well-told, but movies about India are beginning to seem loaded with stereotypes—always the attempts by Mom to arrange marriages, the excessively crowded streets, the entrepreneurial talents of young Indians, the jokes about Indian food, the new technological youth culture.

Still you could do far worse than this one on a hot summer day. Did this make me want to visit India or live at the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel? Not quite. But I mildly recommend the movie.

Patti
Be sure to stop by http://www.pattinase.blogspot.com/ to check out Forgotten Books every Friday as well as other thoughts, comments and reviews. A collection of her stories, Monkey Justice (Snubnose Press) can be found on Amazon