The 124-minute-long film follows the journey of a small group of retired Brits who are escaping their shackles at home and shipping off to India, for what they hope will be a relaxing retirement. Unfortunately for them, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel that they are all prepared to move into isn’t quite what they were expecting! From this moment on, hilarity and crisis ensues.
The small group is made up of a combination of truly inspired characters: Muriel (Maggie Smith), who is the resident racist of the film; there is obvious comedy here in her unavoidable trip to India, and as I’m sure you can imagine, the back-handed racist comments are endless. Alongside the racism, there is the resident married couple Douglas (Bill Nighy) and Jean (Penelope Wilton) whose performances really are first class! Bill Nighy in particular really delivers in this film and, just when you think you have his character figured out, you’ll see another layer revealed in every scene. They are indeed a dynamic couple throughout! Norman (Ronald Pickup) and Madge (Celia Imrie) are perfect in this flick. Whilst delivering some very mischievous one-liners, they successfully demonstrate that life, and sex, definitely don’t finish when you hit retirement. Graham (Tom Wilkinson) is unquestionably a loveable character here also: not only does he provide comedy but heartbreak too, making him an absolutely crucial character. And last, but by no means least, we have Evelyn (Judi Dench) who, though I hate to play favourites, is easily my favourite character in the film. This collection of classic actors not only take you on an emotional journey alongside characters that you can’t help falling for, but also successfully prove that the old ones are indeed the best - when it comes to actors in this film at least! An amusing role played by 'Slumdog Millionaire’s Dev Patel rounds the group up nicely, filling in any comedy gaps that hadn’t been covered by the retirees.
Moving onto the plot! While it might not seem like much from the trailer, and the shady reviews that are loitering around (most of which seem to be coming from my friends!), the story really does have a little bit of everything. While the racism is extreme, it’s clearly there for the purpose of humour and, if I’m allowed to admit this without being accused of racism myself, is very amusing in parts; the sexual antics and heated arguments littered throughout successfully show a new light to the “elderly” that people my age won’t be expecting; and if the comedy wasn’t enough, there is even some romance and heartbreak to complete the scenes.
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