It’s been months since we went to the movies. There has been nothing new that we wanted to see. I was willing to watch just a so-so movie just for the fun of watching the big screen. And then a movie came to town last week that was absolutely a first-rate film.
I didn’t know too much about the story of the movie but, Judi Dench was in it, so I figured how bad could it be? Well, not bad at all. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time. Honestly – it had everything: an excellent story, beautiful locale, gorgeous photography, a wide range of emotions (humor, sadness, love, hate) and a stellar cast that delivered. It’s a movie that is good for all ages, but absoluitely perfect for the 60plus crowd.
The story focuses around seven British retirees. All seven are struggling financially. When they see an ad for a hotel in India that is for “the elderly and the beautiful” and at a much lower cost of living, it seems like an excellent solution. The seven retirees are played by some superb actors: Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, Penelope Wilton, Tom Wilkinson, Celia Imrie, and Ronald Pickup.
When the seven Brits arrive in India, the hotel does not look like the brochure’s photos. It’s obvious that the hotel has faded from it’s glory days. The young hotel owner, Sonny (Dev Patel from Slum Dog Millionaire) lives his life in terms of dreams and positive statements. He’s trying to get an investor to help him recover the hotel, but he lacks the organizational skills to do it.
Judi Dench played my favorite character. She was a woman who, her entire marriage, let her husband make all the decisions. Now he is dead and she’s broke. Fortunately, she’s a survivor. She manages to get her first job ever, teaches herself how to use a computer, and writes a blog. Maggie Smith plays a character I didn’t like at the beginning of the movie but loved by the end.
Each character has their own story and it was fun and interesting to follow each one as they attempted to cope with their new home and home country. With this many characters and stories it could have been chaotic. The director, John Madden (Shakespeare In Love), did a good job of coordinating it all together smoothly.
There are many fun moments in the movie as well as some great quotes. As soon as the movie finished I wanted to see it again. And I will. If I can’t get someone to go with me at the theatre, I’ll get it as soon as it’s out on dvd. Now that is my highest level of recommendation.
LUNCH AND A MATINEE: We really should have driven into the big city and had Indian food so it would match the movie. We didn’t plan that well. We settled for a nice sandwich shop near the theater. I had a tuna melt on sourdough and my husband had a patty melt. Not very exotic, but quite delicious.
The previews I watched before the movie offered a couple of hopeful shows coming in the next couple months. One that looked promising was “People Like Us.” I honestly hope I don’t have to wait another three months before seeing a good movie on the big screen.