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Tanya Khoury: A feel good film
July 13, 2012
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We are back to British cinema with John Madden’s The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. A supreme cast consisting of Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson, Judi Dench and Maggie Smith as they find themselves tied together on a journey away from their comfort zone and lives all the way to India. With the addition of Dev Patel who plays the hotel manager, the film gives off the feeling of a well-rounded comedy given the group of actors this plot finds itself in. This is an adapted screenplay from Deborah Moggach’s novel titled These Foolish Things by Ol Parker.

The thing about British cinema especially when placed in a comedy setting is — you either get it, like it, appreciate it or the exact opposite of all those things. This is a story of a group of people that have a lot in common. Having not been able to fully experience their lives and loosen their inhibitions, India presents itself as an escape route as well as the harsh reality of their lives to date. Since the cast is based on the over 50’s age group their priorities and expectations are different from what you may find in your typical rom com.

What I found most charming about the film is the writing and the portrayal of some of the characters; I had not read the book so I cannot really tell how the film compares to that. Bill Nighy is my favourite of the lot, he plays the role of the unhappy husband, and after 40 years into it he doesn’t seem to find the words to express his feelings and reaches a boiling point with all those repressed emotions. The film is set in India and so the picture is all the more colourful and loud. Maggie Smith is another standing out character, a very rigid individual who not by choice finds herself in the midst of this crowd in India and she is extremely unhappy and vocal about it. Those are the two characters that I felt carried the film throughout, although the other storylines are entertaining in their own light, Nighy and Smith have the ability to steal the limelight with complete ease.

To say that the story doesn’t fall under your typical stereotype is an understatement though, and I know that the purpose of the movie is to be a light hearted one, I couldn’t help but point out those absolutely obvious stereotypical scenes that kept recurring in the film. In addition to the fact that it runs for just over two hours too long. There was too many storylines to tackle and get involved in, it felt a little too dragged out for some and too brief for others. Even though there was plenty of time to fit everything in, the focus I felt was not utilised to its most potential.

As a whole it is a fun film to watch, especially if you appreciate a cast as big as this one, they play their roles effortlessly and it’s a joy to see this calibre on screen. It may warrant seeing it at home on your DVD player where pausing the film here and there doesn’t really take away from the story and you should not go in with the highest of expectations, it’s a feel good film that is acted well and given the location, viewed wonderfully. Kudos to the cast that give those young actors a run for their money, 6.7/10.
 
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