The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is simply delightful to watch. It's still the typical Hollywood movie but it talks about a theme closer to reality which is 'old age.' Everybody is inevitably going to get old and it is nice to know how our lives must just end up in the near future.
What I liked about the movie is that it depicted life in a positive way and embraced death as part of people's existence. There was no melodrama about dying and the characters were just cool about it. I mean yes, they were shocked about one fellow's death but that's it. No close-ups on faces crying, no shouting to emphasize grief. It was just there. And to depict death just the way it is makes life more bearable. I think one of the most important theme of the movie is how to live life before you die.
The casting was remarkable- Judi Dench (Evelyn), Maggie Smith (Muriel), Tom Wilkinson (Graham), Bill Nighy (Douglas), Penelope Wilton (Jean), Celia Imrie (Madge), etc. They were all truly splendid in this movie and you'll really feel the connection between the characters. Usually, when I watch movies with multiple protagonists I usually feel the forced effort to string the characters in unison but the movie flowed smoothly and you are easily convinced that all of them have a purpose in the movie and each affects the other (as opposed to movies that do not make any sense why the need to put up so many characters i.e. horror movies whose stars die one by one). I particularly admire Judi Dench and Maggie Smith. They were so effective. Judi portrayed the character of a grieving wife who was not able to connect to her husband deeply. While Maggie was the racist British who disliked anybody not British.
What I just don't like about the movie is how the characters in a matter of two months were suddenly changed by their circumstances. Maggie Smith for instance suddenly became kind towards others and became comfortable with Indian culture? That certainly baffles me since from the very beginning, she made it clear that she would not be touched with a ten foot pole if it was anything but white British. And the mother of the Indian hotel manager suddenly changed heart just like that when the old Indian man talked to her in Hindi. Come on, I would expect something better than that.
I actually felt that the denouement was somehow premature in the confrontation between the Indian mother and the Indian son. Then Maggie comes up with the so-called figures that would eventually resolve the hotel problem. Then Mr. and Mrs. Ainslie broke up just like that. It was definitely hasty if you asked me.
But overall, despite the weak resolution of the film, i still give it a nod. It was worth watching.