In India, we have a saying, “Everything will be all right in the end. So if it’s not all right it’s not yet the end.”
– Dev Patel’s character Sonny in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
I wonder if The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel had a theatrical release in India.
If it didn’t, the loss is entirely that of the Indians although the chutias wouldn’t know it.
Tired of the endless run of sub-par Bollywood films, I’ve lately been seeking refuge in European films.
As part of my European movie odyssey, I picked up The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel from RedBox.
The movie is directed by British director John Madden based on the novel These Foolish Things, by Deborah Moggach.
Starring a bunch of familiar names (Judi ‘M‘ Dench, Tom Wilkinson, Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith, Dev ‘Slumdog‘ Patel, Lillete Dubey et al), The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a charming comedy.
And like with all good movies, the script is the star of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Ol Parker’s screenplay is a work of art.
With a stellar cast of highly acclaimed actors, the performances are nothing short of marvelous. The cast includes two Academy Award winners, an Academy Award nominee and a Golden Globe winner.
Even Dev Patel, not known for his acting skills, excels in a role that was seemingly written just for him.
Although set in Jaipur, the movie is not so much about India as it is about the lives of the key characters in their sunset years
This movie is not Slumdog Millionaire, which to a large degree focused on the dark underbelly of India.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel turns its lens on a bunch of present-day Britishers who end up in India for different reasons in their autumn years.
Mrs. Donnelly (Maggie Smith), an old racist lady confined to her wheel chair, is compelled to visit India for a faster hip-replacement surgery.
For retired judge Graham Dashwood (Tom Wilkinson), India is not completely new since he lived there for 18 years during his childhood and met the love of his life there.
The Ainslies are in Jaipur because most of their savings evaporated in their daughter’s Internet startup.
Evelyn Greenslade (Judi Dench) is a recent widow who ends up in India after selling her house to pay off debts.
Sonny (Dev Patel) is the owner of a dilapidated hotel in Jaipur that he’s trying hard to restore.
There’s an aging Lothario and a well-past-her prime golddigger.
Falling for the photoshopped images on the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’s web site, the gaggle of Britishers end up at the dilapidated hotel.
And that’s when the fun starts.
For some like Jean Ainslie, India is an unwelcome shock that she doesn’t want any part of.
For her husband Douglas, India seems like a nice adventure, a place to explore new things.
During their stay at the crumbling hotel, our British lot discover themselves and confront hard truths about their lives they’d been avoiding all along.
Given the advanced age of our characters, it’s inevitable that there will be a death or two.
Ultimately, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a gorgeous film about fulfillment, joy, death, self-realization, parting, finding new love, reconnecting with old loves and happiness, all wrapped beautifully in strong performances and a crackling script.
SearchIndia.com enthusiastically recommends The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel in the certain knowledge that none of you schmucks will ever watch such a classy film.