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Film review: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

20th February 2012

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The elderly and retired can often find themselves unfairly overlooked and forgotten in society, this also goes for the elderly and retired in cinema – perhaps again unfairly. By this I don’t mean older actors getting parts, I mean the ‘older’ generation at large being represented on screen, and it seems ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ refreshingly comes in against the grain, but also with ‘The Worst Unnecessarily Forgettable Title’.

 The story follows seven retired Brits who for one reason or another are convinced to up-sticks and move to a luxurious resort in India, but upon arrival find a ramshackled hotel run by a deluded yet charming, Sonny (Dev Patel). Despite the not-as-advertised appearance of the hotel, it soon becomes clear that for one reason or another it possesses great charm and the guests grow to love it…well not quite all of them.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Without any real exceptions, there were some great performances, namely Tom Wilkinson (Batman Begins, Rocknrolla), Judi Dench (The World is Not Enough, Die Another Day) and Bill Nighy (Love Actually, Hot Fuzz), all of whom contributed to some genuine laugh-out-loud moments – that created an overall charming feel to the film. The backdrop of India is beautiful - and as mentioned a lot in the film - awash with colour, heightened by the scenes in Britain that are blue, dull and mundane, set against the polar opposite when in Bangalore.

However the characters very one dimensional and bland, with no real depth. While all very interesting characters, you never totally understand who they are and what motivates them, which for a film that serves to evoke emotion – is essential. I also found some of the dialogue cringey, mainly that of Maggie Smith’s character Muriel – and as we can all testify, it certainly isn’t due to Maggie’s acting ability, and was down to the writing.

While it isn’t a groundbreaker, it is an entertaining light-hearted film that many will enjoy.

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