Seven recently retired Brits have found that continuing to live in England has become just too expensive, so they have decided to try an alternative – in India. They’ve each discovered a resort that sounds ideal … it promotes itself as “the best exotic Marigold Hotel (for the Elderly and Beautiful)” and they each set out to participate in it. This is an eclectic group …
- Muriel (played by Maggie Smth) is an open and unashamed racist, but she is also in dire need of a hip replacement which she can’t afford in an English hospital, so she is reluctantly getting it done in Jaipur
- Married couple Douglas (by Bill Nighy) and Jean (by Penelope Wilton) have lost all their retirement savings because Douglas invested it in their daughter’s start-up business, which is dismally failing
- Recently widowed Evelyn (by Judi Dench) always trusted her husband to manage things, only to find he left her in significant debt
- Jaded and exhausted High Court Judge, Graham (by Tom Wilkinson) spent his early years in India and yearns to return
- Madge (by Celia Imrie) is not ready to give up the good life and would love to find a rich husband
- Norman (by Ronald Pickup) is a perpetual casanova who’s just lonely and looking for love.
They all arrive at the Marigold together but each have their own experience in this new, alien, colourful and totally sensory-overloaded world. They discover that the young owner of the Marigold, Sonny (by Dev Patel) has majorly exaggerated the hotel’s amenities and it is really a run-down, set of ruins that is barely habitable. However, within all this disappointment, the travellers discover that life still brings its surprises, challenges and joys, They also discover that even if their plans don’t quite work out as expected, this doesn’t always mean bad news …..
I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. The environment of Jaipur is totally ‘in your face’ and chaotic. The stellar cast are all marvellous and my favourite is Judi Dench’s Evelyn. She is a “take it as it comes” kind of woman now having to find her own way in the world and blossoming as she gains in confidence. I also really enjoyed the hapless Douglas – Bill Nighy’s performance is wonderful. You just want to tell Douglas to “man up and tell that b*** of a wife how miserable she’s making everything!!”. But things do work out very well for Douglas, so that balances out the ledger. All performances are excellent and the lovely Dev Patel is perfect as the charismatic, witty and desperate Sonny – trying so hard to make a silk purse out of the obvious pig’s ear. His girlfriend, Sunaina, is played by the beautiful Tena Desae and she is very good. The movie is uncomplicated and entertaining and the messages are very nice – it’s the kind of movie that you will be watching and suddenly realise you’ve been smiling the whole way through.
Made in 2012. Directed by John Madden.