Friday night, I attempted to attend a 6:45pm screening at DGA and the cut off for letting people in was exactly 10 people before me. I wasn’t sure I wanted to stay to for the 9:45pm screening, but am now glad that I did. “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” engaged me within the first 30 seconds, which nowadays is rare. It centers around several British retirees who all decide to take their retirement funds and move to an exotic hotel in India. They arrive to find out that the hotel in the brochures is a shell of it’s former self run by an enthusiastic, optimistic young Indian entrepreneur.
With a stellar cast headed by one of my favorite UK actresses Dame Judi Dench, each character has an issue to overcome, but my favorites were Muriel (played by the incomparable Maggie Smith) and the Ainslie’s (portrayed most exquisitely by Bill Nighy and Penelope Wilton). However, all the characters learn that getting older is not a death sentence, but a second chance to live a different chapter in life or in some cases find closure with the past.
On the flip side of that is the overwhelming fact that the hotel is not thriving under its young idealistic owner (portrayed by Dev Patel), who is forced to face facts that he may have to abandon the dream of his father and move into a more realistic, safe life preferred by his controlling, yet compassionate mother (portrayed by the stunningly gorgeous Lillette Dubey). They all arrive in Mumbai, having traveled on every mode of transportation possible to find the phones are down, they don’t like the food, doors are missing, linen is dusty and one room has literally been inhabited by a flock of birds.
All of which, provides for many a comical moment in various scenes. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is my favorite movie so far in 2012 and is a huge lesson in humanity and learning to change for the better of oneself and others. Don’t miss it…I promise you won’t be sorry:)