With the release of The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel Film 4 had their network premiere of its predeccesor, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (based on the novel These Foolish Things by Deborah Moggach). With a who’s who of veteran British talent and a wonderful wit, John Madden’s film is a truly sophisticated and enjoyable watch that reminds everyone being old is simply just a mind set. Released in 2012 and filmed on location in India, ‘Marigold Hotel is a good-looking feature that may appear to just be aimed at an older audience but certainly appeals to people of all ages.
Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith, Celia Imrie, Dev Patel, Penelope Wilton (and more) all star as a group brought together in a Hotel that is far from exotic in look but in body and soul is capable of curing all of the pensioners woes. Coming from different walks of life and all dealing with their own trials, the ensemble charismatically come together to give us a fun, genuinely funny film that is at no point too heavy. Addressing homophobia, loneliness and class barriers, Madden successfully brought the old to the young while showcasing the best of British acting talent. Dev Patel is on form as Sonny, the manager of his families hotel with a lustiness for life that penetrates the older residents of the ‘Marigold. Despite the ability of actors such as Nighy and Tom Wilkinson Patel is never swallowed up and stands his ground as a strong personality (long gone are his Skins days). With a host of talent on display, Dench is outstanding as Evelyn, a compassionate woman who is finally finding herself. Dench is a treasure, and her career in diverse roles is a credit to cinema.
Despite the length of the feature (124 minutes could definitely be cut down by some) and the initial scrabble to introduce each character individually, John Madden’s The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is an immersive and wonderfully upbeat film in an industry often dominated by doom and gloom narratives.