Tena Desae as Sunaina and Dev Patel as Sonny star with some famed British actors in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

Tena Desae as Sunaina and Dev Patel as Sonny star with some famed British actors in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

Reel Reviews: Hotel for the elderly and beautiful

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is most assuredly a grand film of the most excellent magnitude.

  • Jul. 15, 2012 6:00 a.m.

Take heed, gentle readers, there is a honest to goodness excellent movie playing in Vernon.

We know honest, personal, quiet movies don’t happen very often in the summer, but it’s true. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a film with colour, heart, warmth, humour and intelligence.

Seven Brits, at or near retirement age, seeking or coping with change in their lives, decide to try retirement at a centuries old palatial hotel in India. For them, India itself requires some growing accustomed to, however, over the weeks their lives become more about a discovery of self.

Are they seeking something out that they’ve had all along? Can they come to the end of their lives, satisfied? Can they survive the heat and quirks of India?

We say, “Yes, it is most assuredly a grand film of the most excellent magnitude.”

HOWE: One word that sums The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, “beautiful.” From the opening scenes of bleak ol’ Blighty to the warm and colourful land of India, what a fantastic film this is.

TAYLOR: I agree. No chase scenes, no explosions, no fights or killing, no action at all really, still couldn’t take my eyes off it. Having it at the Towne Theatre on that bright, gigantic screen helps too.

HOWE: It’s so bright you could almost taste the flavour of the food. The cast was spot on, and not one of them let this movie down. Tom Wilkinson was superb yet again and just seems to get better and better. It felt like the entire cast had been hanging out for years together, it felt that natural.

TAYLOR: At its core, this is a film about relationships: with each other, in terms of spouses lost or kept, and in terms of with yourself. For instance, one woman, Maggie Smith, has lived alone most of her life. Watching her deal with her racism and fear was funny. Bill Nighy (who is awesome) and Penelope Wilton are a couple who probably should have got divorced a long time ago, mostly because she is a miserable cow.  Dame Judy Dench, who lost the husband that always took care of her, only wants to discover who she is and what she can do, left to her own devices. Still others simply go to India for the adventure of sexual conquest. It’s a potpourri of aged agenda, performed perfectly.

HOWE: You have just hit the nail on the head. It feels real, dealing with real issues and real situations. None of your Hollywood razzmatazz: “Look at me, look how much I cost to make and how loud I can be.” This is a welcome change to the norm.

TAYLOR: I want to check in.

Taylor gives The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel 4 tuk-tuks out of 5.

Howe gives it 4.5 packets of Hobnob biscuits out of 5 (only because I’ve eaten half a packet of them).

The film is currently showing at the Vernon Towne Cinema.

–– Brian Taylor and Peter Howe are movie critics living in Vernon, B.C.