2011. PG-13. 124 minutes.  Starring Judi Densch, Billl Nighy, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson and Dev Patel. Directed by John Madden.

British retirees travel to India to take up residence in what they believe is a newly restored hotel. Less luxurious than its advertisements, the Marigold Hotel nevertheless slowly begins to charm in unexpected ways. (imdb)


elizabeth: I think I can speak for Nicole (by putting my hand in her back and barely moving my lips) when I say we were both very excited about seeing The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. The cast is a who’s who of some of the best British actors around. Okay, okay, Colin Firth was not available. I think he was on the set of Bridget Jones Goes Through Menopause.

This movie is a travelogue about India – a country I am not all that familiar with. Perhaps it is the poverty and the caste system that doesn’t pull me into discovering more about it. But this movie is a love story about the people who live in crowded conditions and as a westerner I was moved to see this and pleasantly surprised to see happy people. It almost felt that the story we came to experience was somewhere in the background. As much as I was drawn into India’s story, I was missing the Brits and their tales.

But when Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson and the rest of this brilliant cast did show up and tell their stories, I was taken in and happily so. But I wanted more of their stories. My secret favorite (I guess it is not a secret anymore) is Ronald Pickup who was Howard the horny man on a mission.

Nicole: …ahem, can I speak now? Hope I didn’t give you splinters, cassidy. Though that is kinda what you deserve keeping me cooped up in that suitcase you drag from gig to gig. But I digress…

I enjoyed this movie, but not so much that I’d sit down to watch it again. Nor do I think it will be remembered come Oscar time (even if Dev Patel gave a wonderful performance as the near-do-well Sonny). That’s probably because the character development of this rather large cast was sloppy and ill-formed. Frankly, I think I knew more about the four or so elderly women sitting in the row in front of us than the actual cast of this movie.

elizabeth:  I think the most important thing I am taking away from this movie is that age that does not mean that finding love and having a healthy love (sex) life is no longer a reality. (Thank God!!!)

And Dev Patel who portrayed Sonny Kapoor, the current owner of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel deserves an Oscar nomination. He made me believe that anything is possible. And how freaking great is that?

Nicole: It’s interesting that they were able to assemble such a star-studded English cast such as this with an underdeveloped script. I know it sounds like I hated this film – but I didn’t. Given what they were given, Dench and company nonetheless shined.  But a better plot with richer character focus would have served them well.

So, I guess that means Cassidy and I are kinda/sorta disagreeing for the first time. But this was not the kicking and dragging fight I was hoping for. Oh well, better luck next time.

 Our rating for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (out of 4):