Bound to become one of the most talked-about films of the year, this whimsical ensemble comedy pushes all the right emotional buttons at the right moments. Even when you’re aware of it happening, the criminally good cast transcends the film’s flaws. From Judi Dench’s widowed Evelyn to Bill Nighy’s long-suffering Douglas and Penelope Wilton’s permanently dissatisfied Jean, each masterful actor sensitively portrays their character’s pain, desire and vulnerability, allowing for subtle comic flourishes to shine through. More
The film might be about a group of English folk outsourcing their retirement to Jaipur, India, but at its core it’s really about letting go of the past. They’ve come to one of the most vibrant places on the planet, a backdrop director John Madden (Shakespeare in Love) shows in all its colourful splendour, without recreating a travel show.
Not all of the film hangs together perfectly – it’s all wrapped up a little too conveniently – but it’s so watchable it barely matters, even when the plight of the Indian characters falls back on all-too-familiar themes. Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire) is charming as the hotel’s preternaturally optimistic and often deluded proprietor, railing against an arranged marriage. Likewise Maggie Smith’s initially xenophobic Muriel undergoes a wildly drastic transformation designed purely to move an audience. But there are more than enough delightful scenes and sparkling one-liners to forgive the film its obvious plot points.
With such an exceptional cast and intoxicating fantasy of a premise, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel will leave you grinning for days. Hide