All at various stages in their lives, a group of British seniors finds themselves at The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (For the Elderly and Beautiful) in India.
Evelyn’s (Judi Dench) husband has just died. While sorting through the estate, Evelyn is unable to deal with both her loss and the financial mess her life has become. She heads to the hotel to start her life over, including finding a job there.
Muriel (Maggie Smith), an elderly woman, set in her ways, and a bit racist, needs a hip replacement. She can’t afford to have it done in England. Her doctor suggests a way to get it done at a fraction of the cost. But she has to go to India to have it done. She reluctantly agrees, not happy with the people who will be performing the operation and helping with her recovery. While she recuperates, she will stay at the Marigold.
Madge (Celia Imrie) and Norman (Ronald Pickup) are both lonely. They head to India, to the Marigold, to look for love.
Graham (Tom Wilkinson) is a retiring bench judge. He grew up in India. He decides it is time to go back and spend his golden years living there. He also wants to see if he can find the love of his life, whom he dishonored and left there as a young man.
Jean (Penelope Wilton) and Douglas (Bill Nighy) are not quite happily married. Jean obviously is the head of the household. Douglas barely makes any of the decisions. And he can barely do anything on his own. They invested their retirement fund in their daughter’s start-up business. When she fails to start it up, they have nothing left for retirement. Able to afford very little, they move to the Marigold hotel, where they can spend the rest of their lives living a little more luxuriously than in the states.
Sonny (Dev Patel), along with his siblings, inherited The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel from his father. He alone stays at the hotel to manage and run it. The problem, he is marketing it as a luxurious palatial type hotel. That is far from reality. It is old and run down. Most things don’t work. He is fighting with the banks, and his family, to get more money, and time, to make it what he dreams it can be.
When the Brits arrive, they are shocked at the state of the hotel. It’s not how they pictured spending their retirement. The longer they stay, the more they begin to fall in love with the place. Well, most of them, anyway.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. It’s a story of a group of seniors living out their retirement years. Hardly thrilling or exciting. It’s a kind of old person’s rom-com.
Now, that’s not to say it’s not a decent film. On the contrary. I quite enjoyed it. Much more than I anticipated. (Which wasn’t much, from what I knew about the film beforehand.) It’s a fun, if predictable, romp with a bunch of elderly people. There’s more than enough comedy to keep you entertained and invested in the story.
Given the cast, it’s hardly surprising that the acting is well done. I mean, come on. It’s Dame Judi Dench. As I said, it’s a bit predictable. But sometimes that’s ok. It’s a jaunt through India that you don’t have to think too hard about. And that’s ok. Sometimes you want to just sit back and just enjoy it at face value.
Again, this movie probably isn’t for everyone. It’s aimed more towards your parents. And I’m sure it won’t make a killing at the box office. But you won’t hate yourself for sitting through it. It’s good for a lighthearted laugh.