Monday, 27 February 2012

180, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

From the first time I saw this trailer I knew this would be my kind of movie.  Not an all out action fest as I so commonly admire but a quirky, beautifully shot and colourful romp through one of the most picturesque countries in the world.  Mix that in with some of the Uk's most prestigious talent including such screen legends as Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Tom Willkinson & Bill Nighy and you have a comedy that could'nt be anything but flawless. 

The aforementioned four actors hold up half of the leading roles in this with the slightly less recognisable Penelope Wilton, Celia Imrie and Ronald Pickup holding the rest.  Although when their credits alone include Calender Girls, Prince of Persia and Nanny McPhee then surely you would have come across all of them at some point.

This movie quickly identifies the viewer with 7 pensioners, each with their own back stories and each with a reason to want out of the UK,  We have a married couple who's concept of a retirement bungalow is more depressing that the 30 years as civil servants it took to afford it, a sweet old dear in need of a new hip on the cheap, a retired barrister who needs to re-find himself, a nan who refuses to stay at home with the knitting needles, a sex hungry playboy (maybe thats a bit too ambitious!) who wants one more night of passion and a widower who just wants people to listen.

Who plays what parts are quickly identified with early on and in my opinion they could have not found seven better actors to portray our leading adventurers.  All of them are stand out winners but everyone who sees this movie would agree that the star of the show without a doubt is Maggie Smith.  By far the oldest, she's in India for the 'new hip' more through desperation than choice and her hilarious lines early on are enough to set the tone for the whole movie.  From her disgust with the local people to her lack of eating anything she cant pronounce she is stereotypical of a majority of old school Brits, which although in some eyes comes across rude, its played out with an air of humour and a slight poke back at ourselves.  

Maybe its fitting then that she's an integral part of the plot and towards the end, its Maggie herself who seems to overcome the most personal hurdles and is instrumental to the success of the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.  Add in that she's almost unrecognisable to that of her long running alter-ego, Professor McGonagall, its nice to see that at nearly 80 years young she can still out-act some of today's youngest and freshest talent.  The Essex girl shines through!

When in India, Its Dev Patel who plays the excitable and optimistic host to our band of retirees.  Being the youngest of three brothers with each of his older siblings having been a true successes in his mothers eyes Dev has to battle with his overbearing mum, dashing his hopes and dreams and more importantly, not accepting his girlfriend as a potential bride to be but there is no denying that although the facility needs some work - his personality it truly first class.

This movie captures the heart of the audience member as much of that of the Actors in it.  A beautiful country that comes alive with sounds and colours on the screen and all of it is well received by all but one of our magnificent seven who's own story also manages to end up win win for all concerned, although not how you initially expect it too.

This movie has the feel good quality of 'The Blind Side' mixed in with the British comedy element we all know and love that makes movies of this calibre stand strong among its bigger budgeted American cousins and I for one want them too keep making them.

If the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is open for new tenants in 2047 when I retire, sign me up!