Movie Review: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

By Agnes Gault ‘13, student, School for Graduate Studies

June 16, 2014

Directed by John Madden (2012). Screenwriter, Ol Parker. Based on the Novel “These Foolish Things” by Deborah Moggach. Produced by Graham Broadbent and Pete Czernin.

Available at your local library, anywhere movies are sold, or in your local Red Box.

“Everything would be alright at the end…if it’s not, then, it’s not the end!” With a premise based on this statement, the characters in this movie get to experience life in a new culture and location. Their choices have led them to this 51 day personal journey of cultural immersion. The central focus revolves around the choices we make.

This movie has an all-star cast. Judi Dench is Evelyn, whose husband dies and now she needs to find herself. Dench does and amazing job with her character and the choices she makes. Dev Patel plays Sonny, the young man who “owns” The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel whose life is about to unfold with his new found guests. Bill Nighy as Douglass, is a man who wanted another chance with his wife. Celia Imrie as Madge, has one goal, to find out if she still has the “charm” to get herself a “suitor”…and not just any suitor, but a rich one at that. Ronald Pickup as Norman, takes this journey to allow “life” to redirect him toward something new and exciting. Tom Wilkinson is Graham, a man who had a childhood experience in India and wants to reconnect with his past. Wilkinson takes the audience with him as he embarks on this personal journey. Maggie Smith plays a grouchy old woman named Mariel, with her own shortcomings (medically), and having to overcome her own perceptions to accept her present situation. What choices is she willing to make?

The characters in this movie bring us an array of human conditions, historical significance and the choices everyone must make in life. Tena Desae as Sunaina, plays the girlfriend of Sonny in a culture where arranged marriages are still the norm.

Success— is it what we seek as we make choices, or to what extent are we willing to take a chance, even if we are out of our comfort zones? The old culture meets the new…are assumptions ever what they seem? The questions in this movie challenge the characters to confront their fears, anxieties and their willingness to accept what it is they themselves value, and are responsible for.

The minor characters bring a very unique perceptive to their stories as well and allows the audience to understand the bigger picture. The culture of India, its colors, music, and how the society functions are incredibly well portrayed. The cinematography of the “old” architecture, superimposed on the new is stunning, and the historical significance of India and Great Britain is subtle but present.

Enjoy the Show!

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Did You Know

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Agnes Gault

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