Hollywood has had a seemingly insatiable appetite for churning out prequels, sequels, and remakes for the better part of the last decades. It’s been so strong that movie critics and audiences alike have questioned both the current state of the movie business and its future. While it may seem at times that Hollywood has lost its originality and its soul, a movie comes along every so often that re-ignites the flame of hope, proving that originality is still alive. It just needs that chance. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is one of those movies. On the surface, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is just one more ensemble story. On a deeper level though, it’s a deep and moving dramedy starring some of the industry’s top names today.
The story of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel centers on seven individuals who came together as a result of their trip to the hotel in question. Each individual comes for their own reason. Muriel Donnelly (Maggie Smith—Harry Potter) came to stay due to a hip operation. Douglas Ainslie (Bill Nighy—Pirates of the Caribbean) and his wife Jean (Penelope Wilton) came for a getaway. And then there is Graham Dashwood (Tom Wilkinson—Batman Begins, The Samaritan). Graham came for a reason that is one of the story’s biggest surprises. That surprise is just one of a handful that make the story that much more enjoyable. The surprises aren’t all that make the movie enjoyable. What really makes this story worth the journey is each individual’s journey of self-re-discovery and personal growth. Given at times, the story does tend to drag its feet. But that can be forgiven as audiences will feel satisfied and fulfilled by the story’s end.
At the beginning of their stay at the hotel, things are rather rough for the group. However, as their stay moves forward, each member of the group of seven changes in their own way. The most important of those changes comes on the part of Muriel. Muriel starts out her journey to India as an overt racist individual. But ultimately, she ends up playing perhaps the biggest and most surprising role of all in the story’s outcome. In hindsight, it’s a somewhat predictable ending. But as with the story’s pacing, it too, can be forgiven as it will move any open minded viewer.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a very deep and moving story. But it is also very funny in its own right. It has more than enough comical moments for its audiences. One of the most memorable of those moments comes early on when the group arrives. They are having their first dinner at the hotel. And the young hotel manager, Sonny Kapoor (Dev Patel) is doing his routine, when Norman Cousins (Ronald Pickup) falls over, leading Sonny to think he [Norman] is dead. The reality is the exact opposite though. And the reaction from everyone makes for one of the story’s funniest moments. At another point late in the story, Evelyn (Dame Judi Dench—James Bond) comes up to the hotel’s balcony area and proceeds to drink one of the other group member’s drink. She states that she needed some water, to which she gets the response, “I know that now.” The way in which that moment is delivered is kind of a dry, witty moment. But it’s also very funny. There are many more funny moments throughout the movie’s roughly two hour run time. And any audience who is open minded enough to take in the journey will find their own favorite funny moments. They will also find their own favorite moving moments throughout the story when they rent or buy the movie for themselves. Through it all, audiences will discover that while it may not be the year’s best, it is one of the year’s more underrated movies. It’s one that any true lover of movies should see at least once. It is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered online direct here: http://www.foxsearchlight.com/thebestexoticmarigoldhotel/.
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