British comedy/drama released in cinemas on the 24th February 2012 and starring Judi Dench, Celia Imrie, Bill Nighy, Dev Patel, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson and Penelope Wilton (pretty much the whole older Brit-Com Crew!). This varied bunch of Brits make their way (for one reason or another) to India for a stay in an exotic, luxury hotel destination - The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel - which turns out to have been slightly oversold in its description....
Charming and Poignant - This is a tale about people losing the lives they once had, which leads to a state of crysallis during the middle of the film, before blossoming once more as something anew. The interweaving stories aren't particularly far-fetched, in fact most of the characters could well be people you know, however each story is touching and emotional. In particular, the stories of Tom Wilkinson's high court judge and Maggie Smith's forcibly-retired housekeeper are at the same time wonderfully characterised and desperately sad. It is only through the fantastic mix of comedy moments combined with the positive and uplifting message that this film stops short of being a sob-fest.
The Hotel - Each of the characters has a back story which they bring to the hotel, and in their own way contribute to the development of the hotel itself. The hotel serves as a metaphor for the guests, stuck in a state of inertia, despair and decay at the beginning of the film but that refuses to stay down and by the end of the film is enjoying a rebirth of vitality. In accepting that the past is over and that you need to adapt, change and grow in order to thrive in the modern world is as crucial for the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel as it is for the cast. The story of the hotel itself seems slightly pushed to one side for the most part of the film, serving as a context in which the British tourists' stories are set, but by the end of the film it becomes clear just how inextricably linked the guests are to the hotel, and vice versa.
Laugh Out Loud Funny - Well I have a soft spot for most of these actors anyway, and this film has them deliver some of their funniest lines ever. Not just the sort of laughs that have the whole theatre in stitches, but also a few lines that split the audience - Maggie Smith's character is exceptionally racist at the beginning of the film, and her disdain and mistrust when addressing people of other races is cringingly-hilarious. Dev Patel's character, while it took a lot longer for me to come round to enjoying him, delivers some fantastic lines based on his grand plan for the hotel - "You see, in England, they can't stand old people. So this is where I make the hotel a success! I have developed an incredible idea - outsourcing old age!". Basically I spent the majority of the film with a smile on my face, and can still look back and chuckle at some of the lines in Marigold Hotel - the mark of a truly great comedy.
Strikes that balance of poignant and hilarious that only Brit-Coms can achieve so perfectly. Filled with a superb cast of diverse and well-rounded characters that evolve and grow right in front of your eyes.
While having many familiar elements, the film manages to have some fairly shocking revelations throughout - all of which only serves to add to the film's appeal.
Truly, there is very little that I can say to complain about this film - I absolutely loved it and if you enjoy other similar films (such as Calendar Girls or the Full Monty) then I have no doubt that you'll love this too!
The video in this review is from Youtube and is provided courtesy of