Okay, there are some good actors in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (TBEMC). But that's as good as this review gets.
This film, which seems to have a found an audience, is one of the most feeble-minded depictions of aging I have ever seen.
There are only two kinds of elders on display here: the over-lonely and the over-sexed. Surely to God the elderly have enough problems without being reduced to cartoons?
The Indians don't fare much better. They are caricatures at best, with Dev Patel leading the way as a stereotypic Indian hotelier-ne'er do well. Racist? Maybe not.. but borderline.
The story follows a group of British people, mostly down on their luck, who respond to an advertisement for a retirement hotel in India. It is depicted in the travel literature as a Shangri-la for the elderly. Upon arrival the retirees find a ramshackle hotel that is barely functioning. Hilarity ensues.
Tom Wilkinson, pretty much the only actor worth watching in this mawkish mess, departs the picture early. I should have too.
Why can't a thoughtful film be made that depicts one of the most difficult transitions–eldership– in a culture that worships youth?
Why must a group of reputable and accomplished actors –Judy Dench, Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith– be subjected to a script so shallow and sentimental that it takes superhuman effort to deliver their lines without laughing?
Instead, we get cliched nonsense. Anyone that tells you that this film is intelligent and delightful should be avoided at all costs.
I'm warning ya...run while you still can!
© Patrick O’Neill 2012. All rights reserved.