Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, The

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +4

Content: +2

Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, TomWilkinson, Celia Imrie, Penelope Wilton. Comedy/drama. Directed by John Madden.

FILM SYNOPSIS: A group of British retirees decide to "outsource" their retirement to less expensive and seemingly exotic India. Enticed by advertisements for the newly restored Marigold Hotel and bolstered with visions of a life of leisure, they arrive to find the palace a shell of its former self. Though the new environment is less luxurious than imagined, they are forever transformed by their shared experiences, discovering that life and love can begin again when you let go of the past.

PREVIEW REVIEW: I guess you could call this a genre film. It has to do with retired people searching for purpose and a way to exist in troubling financial times. Separate Tables and Cocoon are other examples of this genre that came to mind. There are several others with the same theme, though it is a thinly numbered genre. Evidently, thereís not a big following for films about ďoldĒ people. Maybe thatís why I liked it so much. It features a segment of our society seldom spotlighted in an age dominated by a media that prefers young and new to elderly and experienced.

I realize few young people will be enticed by either the title (What is up with that title?) or the grey-headed cast. But that would be a mistake. First, the cast are acting veterans, not only of the screen, but of stage. Theyíre as good as you get, and Dame Judi Dench can stand alongside Meryl Streep and Katherine Hepburn as one of the finest screen actresses of all time.

But more importantly for young people than fine acting, they hear the witty and perceptive dialogue, seldom heard in Transformer movies. Theyíll also sense a storyline that offers insight, something they donít really get from the Twilight franchise.

This elderly group has traveled to India to settle, not so much because they think there may be spiritual repose there, but because itís cheap. Some venture into the temples, but this isnít a film about finding spiritual significance. Itís more about people finding worth and satisfaction and peace within themselves. For me, that is the one failing of the film. You find a true and lasting peace within only when Christ dwells there.

The artistic nature in me enjoyed the film. Thereís nothing crude in it, even when cast members bring up the subject of sex. It gets a tad bawdy in a couple places, but never crosses over to vulgarity. And though one man reveals himself to be gay and seeking an old love he once had when he first lived in India, even this pronouncement is more about regret and guilt than of physical desire.

Itís a gentle, charming film. And for me a true pleasure as I am always amazed when watching Judi Dench. She may even be better than Meryl Streep!

DVD Alternative: Enchanted April. A delightful fable about four women in 1920s London escaping inattentive husbands and repressed lifestyles by renting a castle in Portofino. There they discover the estate has a magical effect on all sojourners. Witty dialogue, dreamy cinematography, and savory performances from Joan Plowright, Polly Walker and the rest of the cast.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Fox Searchlight

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: None

Obscene Language: I caught one use of the f-word, spoken by a frustrated younger man.

Profanity: I caught no misuse of Godís name.

Violence: None

Sex: Sex is discussed and it is implied that an elderly couple get together and eventually decide to move in with each other.

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Some social drinking.

Other: None

Running Time: 124 minutes
Intended Audience: Mature viewers

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