The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (12A)

Film

Comedy drama

Dame Judi Dench, left, and Celia Imrie in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>2</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5
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Time Out says

Thu Nov 10 2011

Has Provence been outsourced to Jaipur? If ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ is anything to go by, it seems that, along with computer programming and call centres, the new Indian economy covers picturesque getaways for middle-aged, middle-class, middle-of-a-mild-midlife-crisis British folks looking for a change of scenery. ‘Marigold’ deserves a nod for putting retirement-age characters front and centre but its sentimental platitudes and by-the-numbers storytelling offer little actual enjoyment.

The cast constitutes a dream team of veteran thesps: Judi Dench is a widow emerging from her shell; Tom Wilkinson is a judge revisiting his youthful home; Penelope Wilton and Bill Nighy are navigating a marriage on the rocks; Celia Imrie and Ronald Pickup are randy old goats; and Maggie Smith, as a hip-op patient, offers a working-class variant on her sarky-but-shrewd ‘Downton Abbey’ shtick. They are all on enjoyable form but none is really challenged.

Ol Parker’s screenplay is based on Deborah Moggach’s novel ‘These Foolish Things’. The film doesn’t quite sink to the dewy-eyed clichés of Orientalism derided in the book (‘oh the poverty, oh the sunsets!’) but it still presents a superficial take on contemporary India: beaming kids play cricket, wise old men proffer advice and standard-issue star-crossed young lovers (Dev Patel and Tena Desae) are saddled with lines like ‘You’re part of a modern India my mother cannot welcome!’

Such tin-eared dialogue is pretty typical, and the various plot strands trundle along to their predictable termini, the occasional unexpected quirk quickly reabsorbed into the flow. With so many characters to juggle, several end up getting short shrift, and the lessons learned are banal in nature and schematic in execution. They might have just got away with it as a Sunday night mini-series but from a cinematic perspective, this trip shouldn’t have been embarked upon.

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Release details

Rated:

12A

UK release:

Fri Feb 24, 2012

Duration:

123 mins

Cast and crew

Cast:

Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Bill Nighy

Screenwriter:

Ol Parker

Director:

John Madden

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

3.9 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:21
  • 4 star:11
  • 3 star:5
  • 2 star:6
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|71
1 person listening
Der Krobsen

Dire script and dire acting. Middle classes promoting themselves too late to the role of the British Empire types. A cliche a minute. Grim.

Jack Schroeder

I have seen 200 movies in the cinema where I saw Marigold Hotel. This was the first time the audience applauded at the end. The average age was 50+, and we laughed from beginning to end. It was smart, knowing, surprising, honest, and satisfying. If you didn't like this, I'm sorry for you my friend.

Jack Schroeder

I have seen 200 movies in the cinema where I saw Marigold Hotel. This was the first time the audience applauded at the end. The average age was 50+, and we laughed from beginning to end. It was smart, knowing, surprising, honest, and satisfying. If you didn't like this, I'm sorry for you my friend.

Ivette Fred-Rivera

The movie is not that good, unfortunately. It was highly recommended to me by a friend and I was disappointed during the entire film. It is very superficial and unbalanced, it shows for long the supposed British prejudices while does not show enough how Indians are, present them as talking English on the streets which is not usual, it treats premarital sex and romantic love between young people of different backgrounds in a very light way, and highly underestimates the prejudice and rejection Indians have for homosexuality. Kissing is not common on the streets for heterosexual couples. Physical affection is widely exhibited in public like holding hands, for example, but among heterosexual men who are the ones that occupy the streets. Dev Patel’s acting was regular. The best part of the film was the acting of the great British actresses Judi Dench and Maggie Smith. No surprise, of course. And the insinuation of problem solving collaboration and friendship between people of the East and the West. I do not recommend it. It is plain, too romantic, thus, simplistic. All the problems were happily resolved 25 minutes before the ending so the film rhythm is unrealistic.

Stuart

Watched it with my wife on blue ray. No plot, no script, poor direction. What were all those great actors thinking getting involved with this rubbish. Btw we are in our late 50s. Better things to do than watch stuff like this.s

Lindab

Enchanting story with stellar cast (3 from harry potter), funny, touching, fabulous scenes of India, real India

Lindab

Enchanting story with stellar cast (3 from harry potter), funny, touching, fabulous scenes of India, real India

Zardoz

My 15 year old son hated it but my 18 year old son loved it. A good film is a good film no matter what the age of the cast. ther only bad thing about it is the title, which is a bit of a mountful. If you fell asleep then you're probably the kind of person who enjoys Michael Bay movies (ir Kids' stuff). This is for grown ups from 18 years upwards.

Zardoz

My 15 year old son hated it but my 18 year old son loved it. A good film is a good film no matter what the age of the cast. ther only bad thing about it is the title, which is a bit of a mountful. If you fell asleep then you're probably the kind of person who enjoys Michael Bay movies (ir Kids' stuff). This is for grown ups from 18 years upwards.

Virginia

Liked it better than I'd expected, would recommend it as super-lite fare to people in characters' age cohort: for its great cast of great British actors, great real-life India visuals and enough humor to keep things lively . With what they had to start with, though, something much better could have been done. Very sorry at apparent need to make boy-girl pairs of the people in the story (yes I remember an exception); kind of amazing a story about people in this stage of life that fails the Bechdel test, as bonds among women are what interest and sustains so many; and though I love Dev Patel to pieces, wished to hear real Indian English from the main Indian character, as one knows that native Indian English speaking actors aren't too hard to scare up, esp. in India.

Little old ladies inc

As little old ladies we strongly resent the implication that we are only interested in crocks of sentimental twaddle. Indeed we are offended by such aspertions and feel that there should be no place in Time Out for such ageist incompoops. Our grandchildren (boys, 18 and 15, girls, 16 and 14) thoroughly enjoyed 'Hotel' and that is because it is a very good film. We pity Alex Cape Town while despising his politics.

Little old ladies inc

As little old ladies we strongly resent the implication that we are only interested in crocks of sentimental twaddle. Indeed we are offended by such aspertions and feel that there should be no place in Time Out for such ageist incompoops. Our grandchildren (boys, 18 and 15, girls, 16 and 14) thoroughly enjoyed 'Hotel' and that is because it is a very good film. We pity Alex Cape Town while despising his politics.

Betternotrun

Just back. A love song to India, a homily on the duty to live life to the full, and a tender-hearted examination of love in several forms. A pure delight. Funny, unashamed of sentiment, well-paced, and performed with zest and pleasure by a terrific cast. Dev Patel is preposterously likeable and Judi Dench adds, as always, a degree of depth that adds humanity without undue earnestness. Maggie Smith - again as always - gives a star turn. Hardly worth reading Time Out these days. i think they take their reviewers straight out of film degree courses, where they appear to be trained to be illiterate elitists.

Betternotrun

Just back. A love song to India, a homily on the duty to live life to the full, and a tender-hearted examination of love in several forms. A pure delight. Funny, unashamed of sentiment, well-paced, and performed with zest and pleasure by a terrific cast. Dev Patel is preposterously likeable and Judi Dench adds, as always, a degree of depth that adds humanity without undue earnestness. Maggie Smith - again as always - gives a star turn. Hardly worth reading Time Out these days. i think they take their reviewers straight out of film degree courses, where they appear to be trained to be illiterate elitists.

Morphybum

When does a trundle become a flow? When a Time Out film critic is at work. Such tin-eared prose is pretty typical...

Morphybum

When does a trundle become a flow? When a Time Out film critic is at work. Such tin-eared prose is pretty typical...

Jenny

Great film with great acting. Would thoroughly recommend seeing it. What a pity it's not to the critics taste, but there again when did we take heed of critics views!!

Jenny

Great film with great acting. Would thoroughly recommend seeing it. What a pity it's not to the critics taste, but there again when did we take heed of critics views!!

pleasantly surprised

Better than I'd hoped. Took my Mum for Mother's Day and she absolutely loved it, as did most of the other audience members (who I suspect were all there under similar circumstances to me and my Mum). The acting was good, there was humour that worked. Some of the character arcs were a bit unconvincing (Maggie Smith, maybe? Though she's so good, it's forgivable). I'm not used to seeing films centred on older characters, so it was actually a bit different for me.

Paul

Could have been good, but such lazy, lazy scriptwriting. There was certainly a shortage of great lines. Doing 'uplifting' in such a hackneyed cliche painting-by-numbers way ends up being depressing to me. Nice visuals is the best I can say for it.

sherr1trifle

I went to see this film last night and was blown away by it. This is not a film for young people, but for those of us who understood why the characters did what they did, there were moments of heart wrenchingly emotional acting, moments of exquisite joy and scenes that moved me to tears. British cinema at its very best.

sherr1trifle

I went to see this film last night and was blown away by it. This is not a film for young people, but for those of us who understood why the characters did what they did, there were moments of heart wrenchingly emotional acting, moments of exquisite joy and scenes that moved me to tears. British cinema at its very best.

Sandra Smith

This film was wonderful Pure entertainment with real actors, not clones who are all plastic surgery, and wooden acting. The story was predicatable, the ending was never in doubt, but it was a real feel good film. I am a pensioner and went to see it with my 2 daughters. All 3 of us loved it and will definitely be buying it when it comes out on dvd. As a matter of interest, the cinema was packed, and as we left most people had smiles on their faces.

Sandra Smith

This film was wonderful Pure entertainment with real actors, not clones who are all plastic surgery, and wooden acting. The story was predicatable, the ending was never in doubt, but it was a real feel good film. I am a pensioner and went to see it with my 2 daughters. All 3 of us loved it and will definitely be buying it when it comes out on dvd. As a matter of interest, the cinema was packed, and as we left most people had smiles on their faces.

Minispike

Simply the best film I have seen in years and I am an avid movie goer. Great cast, great acting, superb story line and photography. Touches your sould and conscience on all levels. Can only give five stars so will add more here ************************* Go and see it

Minispike

Simply the best film I have seen in years and I am an avid movie goer. Great cast, great acting, superb story line and photography. Touches your sould and conscience on all levels. Can only give five stars so will add more here ************************* Go and see it

David Molecey

Don't wish to be ageist, but it certainly helps to have lived a bit to appreciate this film--which I found by turns engaging, hilarious and moving. (Needless to say, I found the negative reviews very sad)

David Molecey

Don't wish to be ageist, but it certainly helps to have lived a bit to appreciate this film--which I found by turns engaging, hilarious and moving. (Needless to say, I found the negative reviews very sad)

Liza

I went to see this with my 13 yr old son.. We both really enjoyed it and it really is a 'feel good' film. Ticks all the boxes In my view. Enjoyed it so much that I'm off to see it again, this time with my fiancé :-)

Liza

I went to see this with my 13 yr old son.. We both really enjoyed it and it really is a 'feel good' film. Ticks all the boxes In my view. Enjoyed it so much that I'm off to see it again, this time with my fiancé :-)

Tom brown

Great fun to watch and a nice introduction India. the critics clearly just want to demonstrate their intellectual prowess rather than admit that the movie industry is simply there to entertain.

Babs

Loved this film, My fiancee and I felt really good when we left the cinema. Having been to India it fetched all the sites and scenes back, so vivid. Actors and charactors brill. WHAT a change from blood, guts, foul language and in your face sex scenes films. A rarity this day and a gem (will be buying the dvd) Not 2 b recommended 2 pps who want high voltage thrills.

Babs

Loved this film, My fiancee and I felt really good when we left the cinema. Having been to India it fetched all the sites and scenes back, so vivid. Actors and charactors brill. WHAT a change from blood, guts, foul language and in your face sex scenes films. A rarity this day and a gem (will be buying the dvd) Not 2 b recommended 2 pps who want high voltage thrills.

Deirdre Line

We loved this film, very funny, excellent acting and so good to see a film without violence and poor language. Wonderful scenes of India. We came away wanting to see it again so I'm going to take my mother to see it on Mother's Day.

Deirdre Line

We loved this film, very funny, excellent acting and so good to see a film without violence and poor language. Wonderful scenes of India. We came away wanting to see it again so I'm going to take my mother to see it on Mother's Day.

Therese

It was the best laugh I have had in ages. Loved the charactars, the location, the storyline....all of it. Really amazed at some of the negative comments. It is tinged with a few sad moments but is generally light hearted and uplifting.

Therese

It was the best laugh I have had in ages. Loved the charactars, the location, the storyline....all of it. Really amazed at some of the negative comments. It is tinged with a few sad moments but is generally light hearted and uplifting.

David C

This is obviously something of a 'Marmite' film. It seems you either love it... or hate it!

pat

briliant funny film aimed at the over 50 s for a change, who can relate to getting older but with a sense of humour.have seen some rubbish over the last year

pat

briliant funny film aimed at the over 50 s for a change, who can relate to getting older but with a sense of humour.have seen some rubbish over the last year

Sue

Loved the film a little gem not earth shattering but a great cast lots of colour laughter and thought provoking moments too. Great to come out of the cinema smiling. Interesting it has provoked such diverse comments. No pleasing some folk

Sue

Loved the film a little gem not earth shattering but a great cast lots of colour laughter and thought provoking moments too. Great to come out of the cinema smiling. Interesting it has provoked such diverse comments. No pleasing some folk

Dave A

Middle-class tosh. Camera work is good but The plot is completely predictable and composed ofone series of cliches after another. It just doesn't pass muster despite the acting of the aged lovvies being generally good. For me, the one exception is Bill Nighy who is the same in every film that I have ever seen him appear in - you will all be very familiar with his pouty lips and stammering delivery. Despite all the hype, this film leaves one with the same effect as Chinese meal - you are still hungry when you leave the establishment. Give it a miss.

Steve Searle

Lovely film, very funny and quite poignant. Can't wait to recce India for our retirement! Forget the critics-no sex, no violence and good entertainment.

Steve Searle

Lovely film, very funny and quite poignant. Can't wait to recce India for our retirement! Forget the critics-no sex, no violence and good entertainment.

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