Monday, May 28, 2012

Retirement Passage To India (Film Review: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel)

On Memorial Day, there are two kinds of people: those who watch "Men In Black 3," and those who choose "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel." I belong to the latter breed. This movie isn't Shakespeare (although most of the cast have done Shakespeare) and it is light and quite predictable, but it is a master class for great acting. Even if some of the situations in here are quite unbelievable, the actors are so natural that you go along with it, and in the end you are satisfied with the journey. I have seen this movie described as "Real World: India for Senior Citizens" and that is quite a snarky - but true - description  of the film. Seven strangers move from London to Jaipur,  and they bring along baggage fron their past lives. The most affecting story goes to Graham (Tom Wilkinson) who goes back in search of his old love, recalling a time when he was by a river and thinking of a time "when he was happiest." Dame Judi Dench is vulnerable here, playing a widow who finds a fourth wind in her life. Bill Nighy and Penelope Wilton play a couple whose life savings were squandered by their daughter for a dot-com venture, and Dame Maggie Smith plays the quintessential Maggie Smith character: the fussy British. Every scene is a marvel, especially when they get to interact with each other. It is funny that the script doesn't really call for much "characterization" but each actor brings such uniqueness in them that each ones feel different - and real. I loved the first half of the film, with the exposition. The second half limps, as stories are tried to wrap up instantly. You can take your guns and aliens with you, I will have my tea and crumpets in India. 

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