Lately I’ve been very careful about the 2 movies I’ve seen in the theater to make sure I went at a time when the theater would be nearly empty because of my cough. This was true yesterday as I finally got to see The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. This is of course a sequel to the original Marigold Hotel in 2012 which introduced us to a whole bunch of great British actors who are finding a new lease on life at a hotel designed for seniors in India.
This amazing cast includes Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, Penelope Wilton, Ronald Pickup, Dev Patel and more. This sequel adds Richard Gere to the mix and he is one of the most attractive men over 60 I’ve ever seen. We also get a far too brief appearance from the great David Strathairn.
Basically the story is Maggie Smith’s Muriel Donnelly is now working with Dev Patel’s Sonny to run the hotel and they begin in America trying to court investors into financing a second venture. Maggie Smith is so great. Sometimes I wish we could clone her so that she could be in every movie. She turns what could be a very trite character into a real person I felt tied too.
She’s someone who has no children and yet she has found a place and people where she can literally grow old and leave an impact, be remembered. As someone who also has no children and is not married I hope I can be so lucky and find a place like the Marigold Hotel when I get older.
The rest of the movie is fairly simple. Sonny is getting married to the stunning Sunaina played by Tina Desai who is one of the most beautiful actresses I’ve ever seen in a movie. Gorgeous.
He is stressed trying to purchase a new hotel and be prepared for inspectors who Richard Gere is.
We also get a lovely little back and forth romance between Bill Nighy’s Douglas and Judi Dench’s Evelyn. It showed that making commitments to each other is not necessarily easier just because you are older. All the actors elevate the material and make it far more engaging than it has any right to be.
I could have done with a little less of the silly plot device of a hitman mistakenly ordered between Ronald Pickup’s Norman and Diana Hardcastle’s Carol but the way it ended was sweet and lovely.
We also get to see Celia Imrie go between 2 suitors and get to know the chauffeur on the way. And Lillete Dubey is absolutely elegant and perfect as Dev Patel’s mother who has a relationship with Richard Gere (who can blame her).
I could totally see why you could tear this movie apart. Is it predictable? Yes. Is it full of tropes and contrivances? Yes. Is it travel porn and a completely ridiculous notion of India and growing old? I haven’t experienced either but I suspect, Yes.
Was I completely charmed by it? Yes.
Sometimes all a movie needs to do is get the right group of actors together, play characters I like, that I want to see happy and tell me a conventional story. Every last person in this movie I liked, I was rooting for. It’s such a contrast to a movie like The Judge which is equally contrived but full of characters I greatly disliked. Everyone was such a jerk in that movie that I turned it off.
There’s a place for the dark and brooding characters and stories but not in a light fluffy happy movie about people growing old. Not in a family drama like The Judge. Another example would be The Family Stone which gave me one unlikable character after another. It’s Christmas for goodness sakes, give me someone to root for!
So, I could see the Second Best Marigold Hotel not being your cup of tea. But if you like pleasant, breezy stories about good people finding happiness than it may be for you. It’s especially lovely to have a movie with so many older relationships and actors elevating material above the script.
As far as content it is pretty squeaky clean. There are relationships outside of marriage but nothing is really shown but that’s about it on the objectionable content scale.
It’s the kind of movie I will buy on blu-ray and pop in along with the original which I already own on a bad day when I need a pick me up. Nothing wrong with that!
Overall Grade- B Content Grade- A+
12 thoughts on “Second Best Marigold Hotel Review”
As someone who grew up on Bollywood movies, I like these films as they show that Indian charm to people of non-Indian backgrounds.
Totally agree. I’d like to see more Bollywood films because I really like the actors and flair in films like these. I haven’t seen that many.
Which ones have you seen?
I’m mostly a fan of classic Bollywood, like films from the late 60s to early 80s.
Well I think Bride and Prejudice is the only one I’ve seen. Slumdog Millionaire is one of my favorites which I know isnt technically Bollywood but has some elements. That’s it. I’d love some recommendations.
Yeah, I wouldn’t even consider Bride and Prejudice a Bollywood film. I feel it’s more of a Western-made film of a Bollywood movie.
I never finished it actually. And I’ve never seen Slumdog Millionaire.
Then I would definitely like some recommendations. They are just such beautiful actresses in the few Indian films I’ve seen. Maybe not technically Bollywood. Slumdog Millionaire would definitely be in my top 20 favorite movies.
Bride and Prejudice I thought was cute take on the Austen story.
-Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham (2001)
-Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998)
These are 3 movies that are considered Indian classics. There are a lot more I can recommend, but these 3 are a good place to start.
The last one, Sholay, is considered to be the best Indian film EVER made! Although I personally find it overrated, it’s still worth a viewing.
I don’t know if you’re familiar with Amitabh Bachchan, but he’s pretty much the king of Bollywood, rising to superstar-dom in the 70s and still acting today. He made his Hollywood debut in ‘The Great Gatsby’ as Meyer Wolfsheim. He stars in both Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham and Sholay which I’ve recommended. And I love the guy!
The second film, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, was like the biggest movie to come out in the 90s and was the biggest love story that we (who culturally watch Indian movies) were talking about in the 90s.
So yeah, I’d say give those 3 a watch. (Make sure you get English subtitles though, lol)
I haven’t heard of any of those but will definitely check them out. Thanks!