The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2015)

(On TV, April 2017) Perhaps the biggest surprise of The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is how neatly it follows-up on the first film. Despite a few new characters and situations, subplots are carried through, the tone is consistent and nearly every character gets a role to play in the sequel. The film picks up not too long after the first, which means that you can see the two film back-to-back and it will feel like a whole. The portrait of India is pleasantly complicated as the story goes a bit beyond the surface impressions of the first film. Judy Dench once again takes on a substantial role, but the ensemble cast does give substantial characters to Maggie Smith (continuing a solid character arc), Bill Nighy (charming in a role that could have been irritating), Dev Patel and, newly introduced in the series, Richard Gere. While The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is slightly more formulaic than the already schematic original (all the way to climaxing at a wedding), it’s a decent-enough follow-up to the first film—those who were charmed by the first Exotic Marigold Hotel are likely to feel just as pleased with this one.

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