Cinematic Releases: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Review by J.G. Barnes

I never heard of this movie until four hours before I was in the theater thoroughly enjoying myself. What a cute and so very touching film The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is. Lead by an all-star cast of veteran actors including Judy Dench, Maggie Smith, and particularly, Bill Nighy, who stole the show with his kind and heartfelt performance. Coming so very close to inching his way past Nighy for my heart was Tom Wilkinson and his beautifully moving story.

A great deal happens in this cozy and unassuming film, fully loaded with very complex and instantly relatable characters whose stories are perpetually weaving themselves tighter together. It's impressive that it remained so easy to digest while giving equally strong attention to each character. It's not until you reflect upon the film that you realize just how much unfolded. Also remarkable is that the film touches on so many sensitive social taboos while not remotely coming across as preachy.

Regardless of the age of the cast, this is a story everyone can relate to of being so buried in irrational self-indulgence or so blinded by the banal comforts of your life that you could miss the beauty surrounding you, given in the case of this film, by an indefinite stay in vivacious and brilliant new surroundings.

My only few gripes are that the character resolutions all felt a little too convenient, some contrived even, and that the cinematography didn't compliment the energy and color of India. Regardless, Marigold Hotel will make for a quiet, charming, and perhaps poignant night on your couch with close company. It's not particularly unique, but an adept and heartwarming film.