Movie Review: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel…meh

A handful of retirees move to India because elder-care is cheaper there and recent events have altered their vision of what their lives would be like back home in England.  And so separately they move to the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, advertised for the beautiful and the elderly… a hotel which is still in the early stages of reconstruction.

I wanted to like this film very much.

Afterall, there were magnificent actors:

 Judi Dench
Bill Nighy
Maggie Smith
Tom Wilkerson
Dev Patel
Celie Imrie
Penelope Wilton
Ronald Pickup

There were touching and interesting stories:

• A gay man returning to find an ex-love he believed he had ruined
• A widowed woman trying to be responsible for herself for the first time in forty years
• Young lovers being thwarted by a mother’s demand on arranged marriage
• A decent husband battered by an over-demanding, narrow-minded wife
• A woman wanting one last try at romance
• A man wanting one last try at romance
• Another woman wanting one last try at romance
• A bigoted woman going to India for a hip replacement because she can’t wait for the NHS
• A couple who lost everything in bad investments

And there was extraordinary photography and marvelous settings.

And yet, it all seemed too much…it all seemed to run together.  The film couldn’t seem to decide whether it wanted to be a mad-cap comedy, a fish-out-of-water study, a sentimental love story, a heart-breaking love story, a droll study of old imperialists visiting a once held colony, a humorous clash of cultures. It seem to need a tighter focus.

There is a point made in the film that India is a barrage on the senses; sounds, smells, tastes, sights, textures all come crashing upon the visitor in a way that is often overwhelming.  This seems to describe The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel as well. There was just much too much.

Did I enjoy it?  Yes, it was enjoyable.

Will I forget it? Yes, it is forgettable.