I went to see The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel because, I mean, who doesn’t want to watch endearing, elderly British actors bumble their way through culture shock in India? And that’s pretty much exactly what you get with this film. You don’t come away with deeper insights into India, or a better understanding of the cultural divide between east and west, or even that many profound thoughts, but you will be entertained. Oh, those Brits. They know how to charm.
This movie’s strength is definitely its cast, filled with familiar (and a few not-so-familiar) British faces. For me, the standout was Tom Wilkinson. Without spoiling anything, his storyline – about searching for a lost love – was the most affecting and poignant. I also thought Judi Dench and Bill Nighy were great, and they had an unexpectedly wonderful chemistry between them. And Dev Patel was his reliably exuberant self. His character perhaps slipped into a caricature of India at times, but I couldn’t help but love him anyway.
In fact, the whole movie itself might be described as a caricature of India, a fantasy about going to a foreign land and finding enlightenment, but it was hard not to love it regardless. Yes, everything works out a bit too neatly in the end, but it still left me with a big smile on my face.
My Grade: B+
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