With a satisfying – if often predictable - story and an acting tour de force from one of the best ensembles I’ve seen in a long time, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is uplifting and highly enjoyable.
As I entered the almost sold-out theatre it became obvious to me what the key demographic of this film must be. I was easily the youngest person there by a very large margin, the second youngest probably had a good twenty years on me. The film is really about the elderly, aimed at the elderly, however, it is still a film that can be enjoyed by someone of any age.
The film follows a group of retirees as they “outsource” their retirement elsewhere to save money, or just to be anywhere else but England. What follows is your typical fish-out-of-water narrative. The frail Englishmen and women experience culture shock of the most extreme kind and some thrive while others…well, don’t.
Before I read any other opinions on the film I was not really aware of how predictable some of the plot threads were. On reflection, I will admit that there is a lot you can see coming a mile away. Yet, there are just enough little surprises, to go along with the pleasing tone, to make you not care that you know some things will happen before they do.
A lot of why one can forgive predictability is because of the cast. The most brilliant and talented cast. These actors have been in the game a long, long time and it shows. Their performances are nuanced and electric. Their characters just crackle with life and the chemistry between them made
me giddy. I have yet to see a role played by Bill Nighy that I didn’t love, and nothing quite beats a well delivered line from Dame Judi Dench. Maggie Smith even manages to make an offensively racist character quite endearing. I could take of leave Dev Patel, but honestly anyone younger than fifty in this film really doesn’t count.
Just a quick note on the script. I absolutely love the dialogue in this film, it just teams with British wit and is so very engaging, especially in the hands of the aforementioned stellar cast.
As a whole The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a bright, clever, and touching film that is wonderful from start to finish.