The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel Blu-ray Review
Who would have ever thought of outsourcing their retirement? THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL follows seven British adults as they struggle with various life events that come with aging. Clinging to youth, or dealing with broken hips, death, retirement, downsizing and more, prompt this assorted lot to take advantage of a free one-way flight and inexpensive hotel accommodations at the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel: for the elderly and beautiful, in India. The hotel, helmed by an enthusiastic and positive young man named Sonny (Dev Patel, SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE) does not quite match the luxurious images in the brochure and on the website, much to the chagrin of the retirees, but are what Sonny dreams the hotel will one day become. With assorted hijinks surrounding their new home, we see how retirement and living in an unfamiliar land run its course on the seven guests.
An interesting concept to follow adults as they embrace or run from senior life changes, THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL doesn’t delve too deep but remains on the superficial with all of the sub stories. Though entertaining, I think I might prefer fewer subplots with a focus on one or two character’s stories instead of eight. In fact, two of our retirees get so little screen time, I forgot they were a part of the film until they were back on screen. With the right balance, ensemble casts can be great. However, I find it distracting when filmmakers use characters that are forgettable or you are unable to connect or empathize with at all much like the stories surrounding Ronald Pickup and Celia Imrie’s characters.
India is a wonderful backdrop to this story. With lots of commotion, vibrant colors and new customs, the added frenzy makes the transition from subdued England that much more entertaining. Some things felt a bit too convenient or easy (like when Judi Dench‘s Evelyn gets a job as a consultant at a customer service call center). Speaking of Dame Dench, I so enjoy her as an actress. Most every role she portrays is full of poise and strength. Her widow, Evelyn, is figuring things out for the first time, learning to trust herself as she always trusted her husband to take care of everything. I would like to see a bit more struggle with this, but as mentioned above, the story was surface level.
Even with a superfluous cast, each actor was perfectly selected for their assorted role and stereotype. The turmoil in Douglas and Jean Ainslie’s marriage, as Douglas (Bill Nighy) embraces all that India has to offer and Jean (Penelope Wilton) shies away from anything to do with the local customs and culture is one of the better (and believable) storylines. Barrister Gram Dashwood, expertly performed by Tom Wilkinson, is another great character and the only one where I felt satisfied with his screen presence. Maggie Smith’s racist and sour Muriel Donnelly has the most growth but in the end is a bit cheesy and hokey.
THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL is a film that I would happily watch with my parents as they would get a kick out of some of the cultural issues and empathize with the characters in their plights of figuring out retirement. This is a cute film but lacks much substance.
Audio (DTS-HD Master Audio): THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL has the perfect audio to accompany the sounds of India.
Video (2.35:1): As Blu-rays come, the video for THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL is standard with crisp pictures and vibrant colors.
Behind the Story: Lights, Colors and Smiles (2:34): Clips of the film with a short promo from director John Madden.
Casting Legends (3:55): This featurette highlights all the great actors in this film.
Welcome to the “Real” Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2:55): We are treated to a look at the palace where this film was shot.
Trekking to India: “Life is Never the Same” (2:45): A quick look into what it takes to film on location in India.
Tuk Tuk Travels (1:26): The tuk tuk (a cab of sorts in India) has it’s very own feature! This is random and unnecessary.