The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

"Your call is very important to us. Please remain on the line..."

This starts us off with a smile which rarely fades in this lovely PG-13 comedy gem. Here are gathered the most dependable war horses of British cinema. What a treat! And as a bonus, a trip through the color and chaos of modern-day India as seen through the eyes of seven senior citizens caught up in major culture shock. Each of our principal players is going to Jaipur for his or her own reason: to find a lost love; to look for a rich maharajah; to find a cheap place to live; to rejuvenate a marriage; to get a new hip; the reasons are as diverse as the people.

We have:
  • Judi Dench ("As Time Goes By") Told to imagine her audience naked to overcome her stage fright: "I think I'm a bit past all that..."
  • Bill Nighy ("Blow Dry") After failing to fix a leaky water tap: "Now that I've got the hang of it, do you have anything else I can NOT fix?"
  • Maggie Smith ("Downton Abbey") In response to the National Health Care's six-month wait for a new hip: "Six months! At my age, I don't plan anything that far ahead. I don't even buy green bananas!"
  • Tom Wilkinson ("The Debt") In answer to the question, "What do you see out there?" he beams, "Smiles!"
  • Penelope Wilton ("Match Point") Sitting in the stifling, self-im- posed exile of her room, "How can you STAND it out there?"
  • Ronald Pickup (lots of TV) When asked the advisability of sex for senior citizens, "Well, if she dies, she dies!" He is an aging wanna- be gigolo who can get an astonishing amount of "action" from two aspirin!
  • Celia Imrie ("Cranford") Thinks she's got enough "it" for at least one more go at landing a wealthy husband.
  • Dev Patel ("Slumdog Millionaire") Trying to recapture his de- ceased father's dream: "Everything will be all right in the end. If it's not all right, it's not the end."
  • Tena Desae ("Yeh Faasley") Joins the pantheon of gorgeous stars formed in the Bollywood galaxy. We love her as she trains at a call center and copes with disapproval.
Each character is in one crisis or another but no ends are left dangling. This is a satisfying and entertaining look at a country most of us will never visit but which intrigues us, nonetheless. We see remnants of the old caste system, while we recognize remnants of a new one which flit by, unnoticed; AND we appreciate the skill with which each old pro com- mands his or her moment in the spotlight.
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Here is a link to a preview:
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