Movie Review: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Sonny Kapoor (Dev Patel) the ne’er do well dreamer in an Indian family filled with achievers, has come up with a plan to outsource retirement and lures a group of British oldsters to his “renovated” hotel. Expecting something luxurious and exotic, the group only gets half of what they anticipated…and a lot more.

I finished my pages for the day early one afternoon recently and rounded up Surfer Guy to suggest a movie. Since I’ve been swamped with deadlines, he was happy to see my face and instantly agreed. Later, he said he thought I meant we were going to watch The Avengers…but we both ended up loving this movie.

The ensemble cast was excellent. Having just finished with Downton Abbey Seasons 1 and 2, I was happy to see Maggie Smith (Dowager Countess Violet Grantham) again as well as Penelope Wilton (Isobel Crawley, Matthew’s mum). While the residents of the Marigold Hotel have “retired” they each want to find a sense of purpose in this new stage of their lives. What happens to them is poignant and funny and proves that growing older isn’t for sissies…and that there’s still a lot of life to be lived!

The views of India were beautiful, colorful and chaotic, though you don’t see much of the poverty that was shown in Slumdog Millionaire. This isn’t that kind of movie. There is romance in it and lots of humor and we walked out smiling. Our showing was filled with elderly people (lots of walkers and wheelchairs) and everyone stayed through the credits…okay, maybe because they needed to wait until the lights came on to maneuver the stairs.

My favorite quote was the one Sonny (hotel proprietor) repeated to the retirees: “Everything will be all right in the end, trust me. If it’s not all right, it’s not the end.” For the residents of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, who thought they’d come to an end, there’s lots of “all right” ahead!

Something I read compared it to Love, Actually, which is one of my favorite movies of all time. Not sure it’s quite apt, but does have a similar vibe and ensemble cast. Do you have a favorite ensemble cast movie?

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12 Responses to Movie Review: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

  1. Cindy Gerard says:

    I want to see that movie, christie. Thanks for the great review. My fav ensemble movie “Twenty Bucks”. It was out in the early nineties. The movie traced the ‘life’ of a twenty dollar bill and the people who came into contact with it. It was so clever and so much fun. Branden Frasier, Gladys Knight, Elizabeth Shue, William Macey, Christopher Lloyd -many more. I like the first remake of Oceans Eleven too with Cloney, Pitt, etal..

    • christieridgway says:

      I’ve never even heard of that, Cindy! Will definitely look for it. I also loved Ocean’s Eleven.

  2. Linda says:

    Was thinking that this would be one to rent later. Sounds like a good movie and there are a lot of really good actors/actress in it. One of the best ensembles that I recall is Crash. It was thought provoking for me and that tends to stick with me.

    • christieridgway says:

      I don’t think Marigold needs a big screen to enjoy so it will be a great rental. Loved Crash too!

  3. Leanne says:

    I want to see this movie!!! Thanks for the review. My current fave ensemble tv show is Modern Family. I liked Oceans Eleven too. Also enjoyed a super oldie “The Great Escape”.

  4. I love ensemble casts that bring together old favorites, but can I think of any off hand? Of course not. “The Departed” has quite a cast, great movie. Oh, “Space Cowboys.” It brought cowboys and astronauts and actors from yesteryear that played both. Great nostalgia.

    I don’t know if “Heat” qualifies–several substantial stars, I think–but I loved the scene where DeNiro and Pacino faced off in the cafe. Great scene, except you’re thinking DeNiro and Pacino rather than story with characters.

    Oh, oh. “The Usual Suspects” fires on all cylinders with great ensemble cast, excellent script, great twists, all-around good stuff.

    Rat Pack and Brat Pack movies generally fun to see because of the actors but not so much the script. “The Breakfast Club” was good, though.

    • christieridgway says:

      All great movies, Kathleen. I need to re-view Usual Suspects…always something new to catch. Recently saw The Breakfast Club again and so enjoyed it!

  5. michelehauf says:

    So glad you reviewed this movie! I want to go see it, but suspect it will only be playing downtown Minneapolis, which means a drive and finding parking for me. But sounds like it’s well worth that effort. Heading to the theater listings right now to see when it plays!
    M

  6. roxrustand says:

    I so want to see this movie! I was delighted to see your post on it. My favorite ensemble cast movies are Crash and Love Actually, and I’ve watched them a number of times. I also regularly watch the Colin Firth version of pride and prejudice (sorry– the capital “p” on my keyboard has just quit!!) which is another multi-subplot movie with fascinating characters. I can’t want to see this latest movie!

  7. Kylie Brant says:

    Great review I’ll have to check it out. Breakfast Club is one of my all-time favorites. No matter how far from high school we are, I think we can all identify with the characters in the movie. I liked the cast of The Company Men, Armegeddon (sp?), The Kingdom, Inside Job, and The Breach.

  8. Hi Christie!
    I absolutely adored this movie, and loved the quote you used. There was also a scene where Sonny said many incredible things to the young woman he loved, (which I could repeat verbatim) and I sighed. Wow, how could she resist.

    I loved the ensemble movie and especially the quick scene setting it all up where they lined up at the airport to wait expectantly for their flight to leave…only to be told there was a problem.

    Every character had solid GMC, but I was a bit surprised about Maggie Smith’s turnaround as a character.

    As for the last picture that made me sit up and root for the ensemble cast, I’d say Win Win. Wonderful movie. Can’t recommend it enough.

  9. Kathleen O says:

    I am dying to see this moive and hope to do it this weekend..I love the cast of characters in this movie.. A few of them I have seen in different movies.. and I love Dame Judy Dench, and Bill Nighy, who of course was in Love Actually and I think this like you, is one of my fav all star cast movies…

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