One month on from where we left the recently retired Brits in Jaipur, India – we return to see how they are getting on. They’ve settled nicely into “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” and into an acceptable routine, where the proprietor, Sonny (by Dev Patel) reads roll call every morning, to check they are all still here (and none has made their final departure during the night). After one or two changes, our roll call checks the wellbeing of each of our residents …
- Muriel (by Maggie Smith) – a harridan and now sometime-Manager and senior advisor to Sonny.
- Douglas (by Bill Nighy) now single since his wife Jean returned to Britain without him.
- Evelyn (by Judi Dench) recently widowed and broke – finding a new life here in Jaipur.
- Madge (by Celia Imrie) – still trying to keep the good life a part of hers.
- Norman (by Ronald Pickup) – our perpetual Casanova, with his partner Diana (by Carol Parr)
Our ambitious proprietor, Sonny, is in USA with his senior advisor, Muriel, to gain support and funding for his expansion into his second hotel. His potential funders, Evergreen Hotels, proposes to send an inspector to the Marigold to check it out, so Sonny and Muriel return to Jaipur to await the outcome of the investment decision and prepare for Sonny’s magnificent wedding to his fiancé Sunaina (by Tena Desae). The hotel inspector duly arrives and Sonny falls over himself to show the inspector a good time. Other guests arrive to sample the Marigold’s wonders – American writer, Guy Chambers (by Richard Gere) and dutiful British woman Lavinia (by Tamsin Grieg) seeking a holiday destination for her ageing mother. The Marigold’s guests rub along as best they can, whilst they deal with the health and financial challenges brought on by retirement and ageing. Sonny’s ambition threatens to get in the way of his happiness with Sunaina and their wedding celebrations are put in jeopardy when he is distracted by the needs of his business. People don’t seem to be able to settle … surely life isn’t meant to be this tricky?
Just like the first one, “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” – I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. Jaipur is shown in all its splendour and we also get the pleasure of Mumbai in this movie – it’s spectacularly and beautifully shot in all its remarkable colour and culture. Once again, the very strong cast are the gems in this simple, but enjoyable story. Douglas, as awkward and down-trodden as ever – is just lovely (beautifully played by Bill Nighy once again) and Judi Dench’s Evelyn is equally great. It’s hard to choose a favourite character this time – Maggie Smith is just incomparable and wonderful. I thought the addition of Richard Gere as the American Guy Chambers would be terrible, but it’s a great addition. He is supremely handsome and I love Sonny’s line in the movie “… he’s so good looking, he’s got me questioning my own sexuality!” … Tena Desae as Sunaina is exotic and totally enchanting. The wonderful celebrations for the Hindu wedding are beautiful and much of this movie is lavishly presented. All performances are excellent and the lovely Dev Patel is once again, verbose in the extreme but always means well. It is one of those typical British movies where the characters just fall over their own awkwardness and you want to grab them by the shoulders and say “just do it!!!” …If you liked the first on, you will enjoy this – it’s good.
Made in 2015. Directed by John Madden.