REVIEWED BY: Tom Seymour
RELEASED: February 24 2012
When movieScope sat down to talk to director John Madden, he let slip he’d ‘come back into contact’ with The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel after it had lain in development limbo for years. The result is a tepid and relentlessly cheery story of a bunch of polite pensioners who abandon their lives in British suburbia for an extended stay at the luxury environs of the eponymous hotel in Jaipur, India, only to discover a ramshackle ruin of past glories only just held together by manager Sonny (Dev Patel).
This is the kind of rigorously gentle feel-good fare that enjoyed its heyday a decade or so ago. But credit must go to the film’s casting director, for some of our most reliable performers been bought together here. They’ve spent a career injecting simple words with comedy, depth and humanity and they do the same here, lifting the dialogue, but also grounding it in shared experience.
So, as this languorously wanders towards a set of only half-realised reconciliations and dips its toe in the themes of Diaspora, ageing, companionship and grief, it’s worth applauding an ensemble cast of such seasoned pros, but also reflecting that time passes so quickly and we should really make the most of it.