The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Release: 24th Feb
Director: John Madden
Starring: Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith
Run time: 124 mins
Rating: **

In the current economic climate, and with the discriminative attitude we increasingly generate towards them, the UK is becoming more of a hostile place for the elderly. The film opens with a montage of those above the age of 60+ either looking around retirement homes, in a hospital, or trying to fix their broadband. These strangers come together after being fed the same promise that India will secure a better quality of living.

I saw a 3pm showing, surrounded by wrinklies and sat next to a nice racist who tutted every time an Indian came on screen – that’s a lot of tutting. Maggie Smith plays the old chauvinist and received many laughs, whilst Judi Dench played the brave widower. Amongst them were a couple who’s divorce was immanent, with one who embraced the culture of Asia and the other who couldn’t stand it, played by Bill Nighy and Penelope Wilton respectively. There was the former High Court Judge (Tom Wilkinson) who was searching for a previous gay lover he had left behind with his youth on his departure to university and two characters, previously unlucky in love – Ronald Pickup and Celia Imrie.

After arriving at the crumbling hotel they go on to have each of their own personal roller-coasters from finding or losing love, to accepting a race that is not your own. ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ star Dev Patel’s subplot is less than enthralling – feuds with his traditional mother, trying to restore a hotel and being in love with a girl who works in a call centre (modern India). When everything is miraculously ‘alright in the end’, I don’t really get why; where did the money come from?

The cast is fantastic and by the applause it received as well as the huge eruptions of laughter, the film definitely has an audience, just a Niche one. My parents loved it. But they also love to drink sherry.

Much the same with ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ the movie made me cringe. The closing speech could have been paraphrased as ‘Live! Love! Laugh! Those who let India into their souls will breath happiness and colour.’ It was a bit much. Sweet and endearing, but I was sad that if Bill Nighy is now viewed as elderly and I haven’t yet graduated, then we’ll probably never be together.

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