Packed with Britain’s finest wrinkly talent, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel doesn’t quite add up to the sum of its geriatric parts.
But it still offers a beguiling portrait of India in all its infuriating madness and intoxicating charm.
A group of ageing Brits for various reasons (mostly escape) head off to India in the hope of spending their golden years in the enticingly-named Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.
When they get there, in the best Indian tradition, they find, however, that it has been named more in hope than reality; they’ve tumbled into a young Indian’s pipe dream rather than his fully-fledged finished product.
But as Sonny Kapoor (Dev Patel) keeps saying, “Everything will be alright in the end… if it is not alright, then it is not the end.” – and so it proves as the unlikely immigrants follow their own paths through their baffling new country.
Some of the tales are better than others. Tom Wilkinson’s character is in search of lost love in a side story that doesn’t carry plausibility with it; ditto Maggie Smith’s bigoted pensioner having her eyes opened to a different kind of humanity.
But Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Celia Imrie, Penelope Wilton and Ronald Pickup have more successful tales to tell. Put them all together, and there’s a fair degree of predictability about all of it – but at the very least, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is beautifully filmed, has a gentle, appealing humour and certainly captures something of the fascination of the sprawling sub-continent.
Rental courtesy of Blockbuster. For details of other new releases, see http://www.blockbuster.co.uk/