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Movie Review: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Posted by on June 4, 2012

Every 4-5 months, my parents call/email/text/snail-mail me about a movie we HAVETOSEERIGHTAWAY. And for about a month we say we’ll get around to it; honestly meaning to but not watching a whole lot of movies. So when my parents mentioned two weeks ago that we ought to see The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, I nonchalantly googled the trailer. [I love trailers, don’t get me wrong. So, if you must, watch this. But I think it gives a lot away]

I laughed my way through the trailer and told Varun that there’s this movie that we HAVETOSEERIGHTAWAY. Last Friday night, we finally got around to it.

Before we get to the movie bit, can I just say that I’ve never planned to see a move in advance?! It seems like every movie I’ve ever seen in theatres happened like this: 9:08 P.M. Hey, we should go see _____. Sure? Why not? What time is it playing? 9:28? Sure, we can make it on time. Do I have time to pee? NO! Hurry up!!! It’s like I enjoy the pre-movie stress of full bladders, running yellow lights and shoving past tweens at the ticket vending machine.

But I digress. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a comedy featuring several British retirees who move to India. While navigating cultural and culinary challenges, they face their own fears and desires.

Here are my four thoughts about the movie: 

1. A foreigner’s view of India: Without hammering too many of the cliché India-isms, the movie did an amazing job of filming India through a visitor’s eyes. The camera shots, bustling crowds, full buses and vibrant colours reminded me of my own experiences in India. Varun and I both agree that the movie did justice to the love/hate relationship that any visitor has with India.

2. Hilarity. There were so many fabulous one-liners. And while it could be tempting to make India the butt of every joke, there was much laughing at self, problems, life…and cultural snafus.

Varun and I have been laughing about these two quotes all weekend:

(Angry wife to husband) “When I want your opinion I’ll give it to you!”

And this one: “If I can’t pronounce it, I don’t want to eat it.”

3. An Honest Assessment of Life: Perhaps because this Spring is quickly becoming a season of personal existential exploration, I loved how honest this movie was about life. As it features retirees coping with loss, hopes, struggles, dreams and disappointments, there is much frank discussion about life and love. We loved learning a bit about the experience of aging and the realities of the “autumn years”.

4. The cast. À la Love Actually, this movie is bursting with hilarious and excellent actors and actresses. From Bill Nighy (Love Actually) to Maggie Smith (Downton Abbey*), the cast will have you laughing and crying. Sometimes at the same time.

There were a few things that caused us to raise our eyebrows. Namely the overt racism (which is later repented of) and the untraditional dating relationship amongst the Indian couple. Needless to say, it sparked an interesting conversation on the midnight carride home. As it turns out, my parents were right: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a must-see. But maybe google the movie times the morning-of.

*If you don’t watch Downton Abbey, it’s something you HAVETOSEERIGHTAWAY. If you do, let’s talk about it. If you still aren’t convinced, give me 20 minutes of your time, and I’ll get you hooked. Seriously, seeing the Dowager Countesss in modern day Jaipur was mind blowing. And hilarious.

7 Responses to Movie Review: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

  1. Patrick J. Rafferty

    Amelia, Beautifully conceived and written, as usual. There is something for nearly everyone in this movie, even if they aren’t in the, [grumble] Autumn years as you so kindly put it. Dev Patel was the best! Favorite quote: “Everything will be alright in the end, and if it is not alright, it is not the end.” Love, Dad

    • Amelia

      Did I say you were in the autumn years? Ha. Dev Patel was great, I agree. Slumdog Millionaire! I knew I recognized him from somewhere….nice to not see him getting beaten up in this movie, eh?

  2. Gayle

    Also love Downton Abbey – Maggie Smith is amazing! It was interesting to see Penelope Wilton in another part as well, although it seemed she was playing a very similar character!
    Was sorry to see the movie end, I thought about it all weekend. (We saw it Friday night too!)

    • Amelia

      So glad you liked it too! I’ve been thinking about it a lot too. And you’re right, Penelope Wilton had a similar role…poor girl. Although I think she’s less intolerable in D.A.

  3. Ana (Ana Travels)

    I loved that film too. The best part, for me, were the one-liners, like the ones you mention.

  4. Team Oyeniyi

    Love the one-liners too!

Thoughts? I love hearing from you!