Thursday, July 05, 2012

Checking In To The Marigold Hotel

Saw the movie The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. It tells the story of a bunch of unhappy retiring British people who buy into staying at a hotel in India that promises the ideal care for the elderly. Once arriving in India, the retirees find that the hotel is run down to the point that there are missing doors and walls. The situation forces people who felt their productive lives were over in the Western world to reinvent or rediscover themselves in a different place.

This type of story has been done before, so it's a question of execution more than originality. Despite a slow start where they introduce a wide range of characters, Best Exotic Marigold Hotel gives a warm, winning take on this tale. And how could it not when they stack the deck with an esteemed cast that includes Judi Dench, Maggie Smith and Tom Wilkinson among others. The actors are uniformly great, in particular Dev Patel (that guy from Slumdog Millionaire) shines as the young hotel manager with big dreams.

Director John Madden (Shakespeare in Love) and crew do a nice job of giving the actors space, although with a cast this big (it's like ten or so featured characters) some people do get short shrift (Celia Imrie's man prowling Madge gets a lot less screen time than expected). The tonal shifts between personal drama and amusing comedy is handled nicely and with sensitivity.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel finds a group of talented people pleasantly performing a well worn story with good results. It's not the type of movie that sticks with you or reveals anything major, just a slight feel good film with a bad title ( I can't keep the title of this movie straight in my head no matter how many times I type it).

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