Review first published 25/02/12
Based on the novel “These Foolish Things” by Deborah Moggach, this film tells the story of seven retirees who make the choice to change their retirement plans for varying reasons and take the step to move to Jaipur and reside in “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for the Elderly and Beautiful”.
What they are greeted with is a dilapidated retirement home run by an overenthusiastic manager with dreams of romance along with the need to find their place in the world which they feel has left them behind.
I’ve been looking forward to this film since I heard about it, and whilst it’s not the out and out comedy I was led to believe it was from the trailer, I was greeted with a gentle “dramedy” with room for humour which was not over the top.
The casting was fantastic for this film was very much “bob on” with Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson, Bill Nighy, Penelope Wilton, Ronald Pickup and Celia Imrie portraying the retirees alongside Dev Patel who portrays Sonny, the hotel’s manager.
The script by Ol Parker is one where the characters are brought to the fore as you find out about their motivations for travelling to India. The plot grows from these motivations and has a nice gentle rhythm to it which doesn’t give too much plot at once but ticks along nicely to allow room for it to develop without the film feeling too lengthy. The humour within the film works from the fact that it pokes some gentle fun at the expense of the retirees without demeaning them – such as the scene where the residents are all treated to food which they are not used to with obvious results.
The direction by John Madden takes advantage of the film’s location and you see the beauty of the sights and sounds of India which also echoes the plot point of it entrancing the majority of the main characters of the film.
The film also has a score composed by Thomas Newman, composer for the likes of “The Shawshank Redemption”, “Road To Perdition” and “The Adjustment Bureau”, which serves to add that extra layer of charm to the film.
A nice film to chill out and chuckle to.