The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel: Summer Film Recommendation

In The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel British retirees travel to India to take up residence in what they believe is a newly restored hotel. Less luxurious than its advertisements, the Marigold Hotel nevertheless slowly begins to charm in unexpected ways. This summer’s sleeper hit film. Don’t miss it.

Jean: As long as such a fall happens to occur right next to the panic button. (Her response to someone trying to sell her on a new assisted living apartment.)

Now that the heat of summer is registering high in many parts of the world, I always enjoy a good matinee out at the movies in a cooler place. I must admit that the San Juan Islands temperatures have rarely gone over 70 yet, but July will kick in soon enough and the lakes will warm up for swimming. So, my friends and I decided to go see Snow White and The Huntsman, made plans to meet one afternoon, and I drove down, walking into the Anacortes, Washington theater with a minute to spare — Had I got the movie time wrong? No, I got the film wrong. I watched as my movie buddies passed the theater for Snow White and The Huntsman, and disappeared around the corner. I held the ticket for Snow White and The Huntsman in my hand; I did not have high hopes for this fairytale flick based on a scathing review from one of the movie critics I trust, but I love seeing all films, even the less than bright ones, if only to see what I would have changed — is this flick worth saving? I’ll never know because I followed my friends and also walked past Snow White and headed for the door marked The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. There, seated for the previews, my friends explained that they changed their minds and had left me a message – they knew I’d find them; it’s the way we roll here – island time.

I knew very little about The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel beyond what the press releases showed, and very few art films or smaller movies, independent films, make their way through the hordes of big Hollywood bruiser films on our island come summertime; I usually have to travel off-island to see independent films. Last summer, Woody Allen’s Midnight In Paris became the small movie that bested many of Hollywood’s expensive blockbusters — wait, who paid money to see Green Lantern? Week after week, Midnight In Paris played in theaters throughout the summer, a rarity for any film, and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel appears to be this summer’s rare treat, and I predict it will duplicate this feat. I also expect to see it again so that I can share its joy, warmth, compassion, and laughter anew.

Orderly: My wife is from Mumbai.
Muriel: Well don’t blame me, you married her!

John Madden directs the film with his usual dramatic and comedic timing intact from his career high film, Shakespeare In Love. Ol Parker wrote the screenplay based on Deborah Moggach’s novel, These Foolish Things. The cast is made up of theater and film greats: Judi Dench, Tom Wilkinson, Bill Nighy, Penelope Wilson, Dev Patel, and Maggie Smith, playing a character who is hard to like, and going for every line read without a care about that — a rich and fortuitous role for her to play.

Evelyn: Nothing here has worked out quite as I expected.
Muriel: Most things don’t. But sometimes what happens instead is the good stuff.

The characters, all retirees, are introduced singly, we know very little about each person, just what may draw them to pack up and move to a retirement home in India that is promoted as top notch. They arrive in the heat, and what they find is a Best Exotic Marigold Hotel that has hit the skids. They also find Dev Patel, the lead in Slumdog Millionaire, bursting with joy, who checks them in, and expounds on the greatness of the place. His vision and irrepressible drive can only take him so far, but he convinces the group to not turn around and leave. The sights, sounds, and yes, even the smells of India, the crush of life, the people with journeys to take every single day, the animals, the hopes, dreams, heartaches, are there to find in the film. I loved every colorful frame.

What films are you seeing on the big screen this summer? Best to you and enjoy your entertainment choices, Justin





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8 Responses to “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel: Summer Film Recommendation”

  • Stellar cast and glad you liked the film. I’ve had my nose to the grindstone and haven’t seen many of late, but this sounds like something I would love.

    Thanks Justin for the in depth review,


    • justin

      I know you are busy putting last minute touches on your new book (due on July 9th — Spring Into Summer), Eden. Wishing big things for your latest publishing venture. I loved the stories. When you get a breather, this small but worldly film will make you smile.

  • I love Judi Dench and am waiting on this to come to Pay Per View. Oh yeah. I’m not the theater-getting-hacked-on-crying-babies-type. Go figure. 😉

    As always, love your posts and am now finally in front of the desktop where my comments don’t magically disappear cell phone-style. 😀

    • justin

      Yay, M’s back 🙂 … I hear you! Almost started a brawl when our group of five went to go see People Like Us yesterday, sitting down in front of a patron who couldn’t believe we’d take the seats right in front of her when there were plenty of empty seats in the small theater. And she was like a dog with a bone, finally moving herself, her movie companion a bit mortified. The woman’s last words: “I’m not one to get upset so easily,” whispered to her friend in that knowing overly-loud passive-aggressive whisper. I replied, speaking up, dry: “I beg to differ.” And the lights dimmed and we all happily watched the previews. My mom would’ve said that the woman’s feet must’ve hurt badly that day. Anyway. I also liked People Like Us, but The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel gets a special place in my memory.

  • Ooh! This film sounds like one I’d love! Thanks for the recommendation, Justin!

    • justin

      You are very welcome. I hope you are staying cool in shy-town. I know Stuliana loved the Kipling and Zippy dolls you sent over. What a creative gem you are too — best always.

  • I felt inspired about how Not to grow old…

    • justin

      I hear you loud and clear, but if I have to grow old, staying at the best exotic marigold hotel would be a fun life changing place to escape to.

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