[Movie Review] The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
To begin with, I'll address the ones who are in a hurry and need a quick litmus test about the movie. Normally, this can be done with ratings, but that isn’t really reliable since ratings can be relative. Each one can have his own.
By Kunal Mathur
To begin with, I’ll address the ones who are in a hurry and need a quick litmus test about the movie. Normally, this can be done with ratings, but that isn’t really reliable since ratings can be relative. Each one can have his own.
So as a critic, what I have decided to do is to summarize the movie review in ONE Sentence. It’ll give the crux and what my precise feelings about the movie.
For this one:
“Now that it’s a fashion to being superheroes together, this one does it again but loses the script.”
What happens when you have Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson, Penelope Wilton and other Stalwarts sharing the screen?
And that’s exactly what happens. You realize the mastery these people have over their craft when you watch them in action in this movie. And just like a symphony which does not matter at all when the instruments are being played by maestros, this movie’s dull script seems insignificant in front of the performances.
And to top that, it had Bill Nighy. I am a crazy fan. I am biased. I confess this in the review. Sue me. But a movie cannot go wrong even if it has as much as a photo frame of Bill Nighy, let alone the star himself.
The movie starts with a crisp introduction of the characters. A group of British retirees decide to move into a seniors’ hotel in India to live the good life. The hotel is one of those photoshopped ones which we see so often here in India, particularly in Udaipur. It turns out to be an unfinished dump run by a young and naive local named Sonny (Patel), who dreams of running a beautiful hotel but doesn’t have the funds or support to make it happen. Honestly, the plot is a maze of so many sub plots that it looks more like a script for an Ekta Kapoor Show.
When one talks about a movie based in India, you are reminded of the clichés. And this movie does justice to this notion rather audaciously. It has more cliché and predictability than a Roadrunner cartoon.
Judi Dench is simply radiant as Evelyn, who is pretty much the film’s anchor. I can’t believe how beautiful she is at her age. She just has this great aura about her. Unfortunately, the rest of the cast doesn’t live up to the high standards that she sets. Maggie Smith is mildly amusing, but a little too one-note. And once she changes her ways and becomes nice, it seems to come out of nowhere. Doug and Jean form a very unlikable bickering couple that isn’t handled well. Wilkinson is fine as Graham but his character is poorly written.
Based on a novel by Deborah Moggach, “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” has all the weaknesses of its genre, particularly the tied-in-a-bow ending. But with a cast like this, it’s hard to argue. And for us Udaipurites, one has to watch this movie to believe how beautiful it looks in the movie.