The most apt word I can think of to describe The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is charming. Simply Charming. The movie follows the adventures of seven British retirees who decide to retire to India where they will stay at The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for the Elderly & Beautiful. When they arrive, however, our cast of characters find their young host has done quite a bit of sprucing to the picture of the hotel shown on the brochure and hilarity ensues as our seven transplants attempt to adjust to this new life.
While Ol Parker’s script is in parts endearing, amusing, and intriguing, the movie is truly lead by an all-star cast. Dame Maggie Smith (Downton Abby, Harry Potter) charms as an ex-housekeeper searching for a purpose in life and value in her unfamiliar surroundings. Judi Dench (James Bond, Pride & Prejudice) touches us as a housewife facing an uncertain future without her now late husband but who is determined to make the best of every day. Bill Nighy (The Constant Gardener, Doctor Who) beautifully portrays the conflict of a decent man trapped in an unhappy marriage. The whole cast is fantastic and is rounded out by Tom Wilkinson (Michael Clayton, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), Penelope Wilton (Downton Abby, Doctor Who), Celia Imrie (Calender Girls, Bridget Jones), & Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire) as Sonny Kapoor the hapless young man who dreamed up this hotel.
Directed by John Madden, the movie alternates between dazzling us with the beautiful, exotic views of India, amusing us though the small misfortunes each character encounters, touching us by their kindnesses, and flooring us by profound insights.
“Everything will turn out alright in the end. If it is not alright it is not yet the end,” is the mantra of Kapoor as he navigates his perilous family and financial situation. This statement, repeated many times throughout the movie becomes the motif the entire tail is wound around. “Everything will turn out alright in the end. If it is not alright it is not yet the end.”
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a charming escape that still holds substance. It is a film that reminds you what it means to be human while making you laugh out loud in the process. It is a movie I wholeheartedly recommend.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel opens in St. Louis on Friday, May 11, at Plaza Frontenac.