Tuesday, May 1, 2012
“THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL”
What a delight! I was recently privileged to be invited to a pre-release screening of this delightful new movie from Great Britain featuring some of our favorite grandparent-aged actors: Judi Dench, Tom Wilkinson, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, and other luminaries of British film. They played their roles without vanity – with wrinkles and wattles in full view, which didn't take anything away from their good looks. The story is about a group of retired people with limited means, none of whom know each other (except for the one married couple), who respond to a brochure offering an inexpensive residence in “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.” When they get to Jaipur they find out that the brochure had been photo-shopped and the pictures of the hotel do not represent what it is today, but what Sonny, the ditzy and appealing young owner, envisions it to be someday. As he says, “In India everything will turn out okay in the end and if it is not okay, it is not the end.” (This reminded me of my husband’s and my mantra when we went to India and kept encountering one surprise after another, and not always welcome surprises: “T.I.I.” for “This Is India.”) Dev Patel (of “Slumdog Millionaire”), who plays Sonny, heads a strong Indian cast, including actors portraying his gorgeous mother and a young untouchable servant whose story is one of many moving narratives. The life stories of the Brits, which brought them to Jaipur, are absorbing, as are the changes that take place in them and in their relationships with each other and with India. If you want to see people living their lives fully in their 60s and 70s and want to feel good walking out of the theater, you’ll have your chance after this film opens nationwide on May 4.