The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2012)
Directed by John Madden
n. Geriatric comedy 1. Any comedy by and/or pertaining to the elderly.
Seven British retirees walk into an Indian hotel…no, this isn’t a joke. There’s the widow in need of a job and a little adventure, Evelyn (Judi Dench, in a Golden Globe-nominated role); the wheelchair-bound bigot in need of a new hip, Muriel (Maggie Smith, in a S.A.G. nominated supporting role); the desperate widower in search of love, Norman (played by Ronald Pickup) and the widow in search of her own love, Madge (Celia Imrie); the couple coming to terms with their dysfunctional relationship, Douglas and Jean (Bill Nighy and Penelope Wilton); and the gay (“more in theory than in practice”), wealthy former judge just soaking in the beauty of India, Graham (Tom Wilkinson).
When their British homeland fails to give them whatever they’re looking for – love, happiness, adventure, medical assistance – they board the same plane and find a home in a shabby old hotel run by an excited young entrepreneur, Sonny (Dev Patel). There, some of them will find beauty and adventure like they’ve never seen…and some will prefer to sit in their self-pity and mope. When relationships fall apart and the future of the hotel is brought to question, it’s their trust in one another that holds everything up.
This sounds like a big cast, and it is, but director John Madden (“The Debt”) leads the experienced stars to hit every nuanced cue in their well-developed characters…and leads them to a S.A.G. nomination for Best Ensemble Cast, too! Each and every star shows incredible grace and British wit in their performances.
“The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” has a marvel of a script too, based on the novel “These Foolish Things” by Deborah Moggach and co-penned by Ol Parker. It’s comedic and insightful, one of the best adapted screenplays I’ve heard all year! (Which, admittedly, isn’t saying much – I’ve found 2012 to be a rather disappointing year for film).
In sight and sound, India has got to be one of the most beautiful countries on Earth. Thankfully, “TBEMH” had its share of Indian music to fill what little time was left between the gigantic cast’s chatter.
With a fantastic ensemble, a gorgeous setting, and an insightful script, “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” is one of the best pictures of the year! You owe it to yourself to see this fantastic dramedy (my favorite movie genre).