|Evelyn (Judi Dench), Graham (Tom Wilkinson), and Douglas (Bill Nighy) stroll through the city.|
Evelyn (Judi Dench), "Nothing here has worked out quite as I expected."
Muriel (Maggie Smith), "Most things don't. But sometimes what happens instead is the good stuff."Once the group gets to India the screen absolutely bursts with color and confusion, as the audience is immersed in the culture of Jaipur as abruptly as its main characters. When they reach their destination it's more than a little bit of a disappointment. Clearly not as advertised, the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is rundown, with no working phones, doubtful plumbing, and an overall ramshackle appearance. But its proprietor Sonny (Dev Patel) is so full of charm and enthusiasm that most of the group decide to make the best of their new surroundings. They soon begin to tentatively explore the area, each person finding a way to connect to the culture:
Evelyn (Judi Dench), a recent widow who has never held a job in her life, finds work at a call center and starts a blog about her new life in India.
Graham (Tom Wilkinson), who grew up in India, has returned to find an old love and seek forgiveness.
Douglas (Bill Nighy) and Jean (Penelope Wilton) react to their new home in decidedly different ways, Douglas immersing himself in the food and culture and visiting local temples, while Jean won't even leave the confines of the hotel and dreams of returning to England at the first opportunity. Their marriage is far from healthy, as Jean lets him know, "When I want your opinion, I’ll give it to you." Wilton (Downton Abbey) seems to be the go-to actress when you want someone uptight, rigid and annoying.
Madge (Celia Imrie) and Norman (Ronald Pickup) have both come to India looking for love — but not with each other.
Muriel (Maggie Smith), has come to India for a hip operation. She is at first not just resistant to the culture, but decidedly racist. Her connection to a young maid at the hotel has a positive effect on her.
|Muriel (Maggie Smith) is at first doubtful of her surroundings.|
Sonny, "Everything will be all right in the end . . . if it's not all right, then it's not the end."What could be a better metaphor for aging than Sonny's catchphrase, which he says a few times in the film? The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is not only entertaining, but a depiction of hope for the future. There are many more dreams to be dreamed, adventures to have, and goals to be reached, even after one has reached "a certain age."