Thursday, March 21, 2013

Review of Best Exotic Marigold Motel

I rarely do movie reviews because, by the time I have seen a film, so has everyone else. Occasionally, something is so good and so touching that you want to share so that no one misses out on a true gem. Here is the description of the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel from

British retirees travel to India to take up residence in what they believe is a newly restored hotel. Less luxurious than its advertisements, the Marigold Hotel nevertheless slowly begins to charm in unexpected ways.

Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Celia Imrie, Penelope Wilton, Bill Nighy, and Tom Wilkinson all have unique reasons for seeking retirement in a country and culture that is the antithesis of their well-ordered life in England. Upon arrival, they are hit in the face with the sounds, sights, and smells of the Indian subcontinent, and they are pulled into the vortex that is modern-day India.

The story is predictable. There will be salvation for all but the crankiest visitor. And there are a few false notes, most particularly Wilton’s extremely nasty character and Smith’s reaction during a visit to a servant’s home. But it is the journey that makes this film so enjoyable. And the acting! My goodness! It is a pleasure watching six of Britain’s premier actors doing what they do best: drawing believable characters that we care about.

As wonderful as the older talent is, Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire), the owner of the hotel, is a scene stealer. He twists and turns the most negative news until it comes out of his mouth as a positive. His mantra is: “Everything will be fine in the end, and if it’s not, it is not the end.” Retired or not, that’s a great outlook on life.


  1. Mary, it's Penelope Wilton's character that gives the film a touch of authenticity.Her sham of a relationship kept going for decades and the volcanic magma of emotion building up under the surface for all those years. How many of us don't admit to the reality of our lives; a smile covering the pain. As for Tom Wilkinson's dangerous and touching (at the same time) past homosexual relationship with an Indian servant revived and admitted too is a very brave note in the film.I could cry for the Indian gentelmans wife and the sacrifice she must have made. We in the west, and especially the middle classes amongst us, have always had the talent to gloss over, or hide the realities of life.
    Mary, in the States back in the 50's and 60's, although you did have that revolutionary student movement, all those east Coast university riots etc, wasn't your television inundated by the Tv sit coms and adverts for cars, fridges and cake making depicting so perfect , "moms,"wearing perfect flower print aprons and rosy cheeked children looking adoringly at their ,"moms," the smiling husband in his new Buek just home from the office. What a travesty of the truth all that was.You lot were conned weren't you? You weren't allowed to feel real human feelings and reactions. You had to conform to "THAT" TV advert.

    All the best,

  2. I react when a character is "too" anything. Penelope Wilton dripped acid in every scene with Bill Nighy. I think it could have been handled better. As for me buying into the '50s sitcom, I didn't. My life wasn't anything like it was on TV which is why I liked watching the Donna Reed Show so much. The big house, happy marriage, warm and fuzzy dad was the antithesis of what I was actually seeing in the two-bedroom apt. I shared with seven other people.

    I honestly think very few people were "conned." I grew up in a "dysfunctional" family, but as I've grown older and met so many people, I realize that most people grew up in a dysfunctional family. But my story has a happy ending b/c I have a fantastic husband and we've raised two great kids.

  3. I thought there was a good balance between all the actors who acted well as an ensemble.The film got the mixture of humour and real issues and the characterisation just right. They are indeed all very good actors and I think the film works very well.

    Mary, I have a British point of view about America and Americans garnered from documentaries, films and TV series over the decades and the sometimes twee "American" comments on many blog posts I read. I do have a lack of experience of actually visiting the States I must admit.