Outstanding performances in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

When you have Maggie Smith and Judi Dench and Bill Nighy together in the same movie, it’s inevitable that something extraordinary is going to result. Add Tom Wilkinson, Penelope Wilton, Dev Patel and a pretty darn good script and you have a film that exercises the laugh muscles and joggles the ones in the brain a bit, too.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel has and does all this and more, starting with a scenario familiar to most adults in the Western world, specifically Brits. That would be retirement, and the growing problem of being able to afford it. A disparate group of older citizens are looking for a cheaper place to spend their golden years. They all settle on a hotel in India advertised as the perfect spot for “the elderly and beautiful”, only to discover that ‘perfect’ is in the eye of the beholder.

This is definitely a film to laugh with and think about, and it is not just for seniors, though it’s going to be a jewel in the realm of films made for/about the elder generation. That’s partly due to the stellar cast, but this one has a message, gently offered but clear nonetheless. Life in all its stages is pretty much what we make of it. As Sonny, manager of the Marigold Hotel, likes to say, everything works out fine in the end, “. . .and if it’s not yet fine, it is not yet the end.”