Adapted from Deborah Moggach’s novel These Foolish Things, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a hilarious and touching comedy about growing old disgracefully.
Ol Parker’s warm and witty script provides the predominantly British cast with moments to shine and tug our heartstrings as love is lost and found beneath a foreign sun.
Director John Madden, who previously helmed the Oscar-winning Shakespeare In Love, captures a different side to life in modern India than the poverty and crime of Slumdog Millionaire.
The teeming streets of Rajasthan burst with colour and vitality and composer Thomas Newman adds plenty of spice with his evocative score.
Performances are an embarrassment of riches, from Maggie Smith’s racist housekeeper to Penelope Wilton’s well-to-do wife, who constantly belittles her husband, telling him, “When I want your opinion, I’ll give it to you.”
Evelyn (Judi Dench) has recently lost her husband and is coming to terms with solitude in her twilight years.
Determined to start anew, she abandons Britain for the balmier climes of Jaipur and a grand retirement home called The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.
En route, Evelyn meets six other retirees all bound for this “luxury development for residents in their golden years”.
When the travellers arrive at their destination, they discover a building in disrepair and an inexperienced manager, Sonny (Dev Patel), struggling to keep the creditors off his back.