Film Review: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Directed by John Madden

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a mix-match of a film that I’m a bit unsure about. It has a fantastic cast, with the likes of Maggie Smith (Downton Abbey, Harry Potter), Bill Nighy (Love Actually, Pirates of the Caribbean) and Judi Dench (Skyfall, Jane Eyre), but the wishy washy plot just doesn’t keep up the standard. We flick back and forth between the lives of seven travellers that all decide to visit the Marigold Hotel in India. A brief introductory shows the characters deciding on the trip and going to the airport. This time is also used to establish a loose blogging aspect, that’s only use is a half-arsed monologue to show the progress of time. The only real benefit, however, is we get to hear more of Judi Dench’s voice to steam us through the slow events.

I’m not saying it’s a bad movie, I mean it has its moments. Some of the characters you can feel for at times, it just seems that the writers were making the story too character based, yet giving the characters one trait each to work with. Evelyn lost her husband, Graham wants to find his lost love, Douglas… I don’t quite know what he wants but his wife Jean is unhappy, Muriel is racist, and Norman and Madge just want to get lucky. Not one of the characters has time to branch out and show deeper levels, despite the good acting. Interlinked with all of these ‘character explorations’ is yet another story of the hotel owner Sonny (Played by Dev Patel known from Slumdog Millionaire) trying to be with his girlfriend. It’s all just a jumble that doesn’t click well together. There was one good moment was between Evelyn and an office where she finds a job. She is speaking to them about how call centres speak to elderly people on the phone and how unsentimental they are. This small story was touching and meaningful: and more of what this movie needed. It shows the writers can write, they just need to focus more.

The movie on the whole was sweet and some topics to do with aging were covered. But the plot and tone just needed that extra push. It rather had that thing your mum or nan might like, rather than living up to its full potential.

Rating: 5/10

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