Wednesday, May 9, 2012
The perfect antidote to the summer blockbuster season,The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a wistful, humorous, grown-up story of love, loss, family, identity, and the ever-present whooshing of time's wingéd chariot. Its splendid ensemble cast play Englishmen and women of a certain age, gobsmacked by circumstances, who decide to "outsource" their retirement to sunny, inexpensive India.
Scripted by Ol Parker, it's adapted from the 2004 novel, "These Foolish Things," by Deborah Moggach. (She also wrote the terrific screenplay for the 2005 Pride & Prejudice). And it's directed with quiet affection and precision by John Madden (Shakespeare In Love; The Debt), who knows a thing or two about maneuvering gifted ensemble players around the screen and standing back to let them do their thing. The plotlines are fairly predictable, and it all relies a bit much on inspirational messaging, but it's still a pleasure to watch throughout.
New widow Evelyn (Judi Dench), learns her husband has mismanaged their finances and she must sell her comfy home in Sussex to pay his debts. Graham (Tom Wilkinson), a retiring judge who grew up in a diplomat's family in India, has a debt of his own to repay. Civil servant Douglas (Bill Nighy) and his wife, Jean (Penelope Wilton), have invested their life savings in their daughter's failed start-up, and can now only afford a "beige" flat in an assisted living community. (Read more)