The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011)

(On Cable TV, April 2017) Ensemble romantic comedies are a dime a dozen, but few of them tackle the topic of retiree romance as well as The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. While I don’t entirely buy the premise (pensioners moving from Britain to India for their last few years), it does make for a clever way to put familiar characters in new situations. As they navigate the unfamiliarity of modern India, our cast of character grows from their new surroundings, we viewers get a good dose of exoticism and various subplots are left free to develop. A good ensemble casts helps—While Judy Dench and Tom Wilkinson are the standouts here, Bill Nighy manages to make a weak-willed character sympathetic and Maggie Smith gets the difficult role of a stone-cold racist changing her ways after immersion in a foreign culture. Dev Patel also gets a good role as the young Indian man trying to hold a plan together despite the actions of his western guests. Colorful, sympathetic and gently upholding admirable values, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is the kind of pleasant surprise that British cinema does so well. It’s not spectacular, but it works well enough.

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