The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011)
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A very sweet movie that I didn't expect to enjoy as much as I did.
This John Madden gentle comedy is no Shakespeare in Love, but it manages to charm thanks to its location work and performances. The premise could be a TV series: A number of British seniors move to India for a variety of reasons and stay at a work-in-progress hotel run by a zany young man played by Dev Patel who hopes to "outsource the old". So you've got a recently-widowed Judi Dench looking for a fresh start, Wilkinson looking for an old lover, Bill Nighy and Penelope Wilton forced to move to cheaper climes in their retirement, crusty racist Maggie Smith there to get a quick, no-waiting hip replacement, and both Ronald Pickup and Celia Imrie independently looking for love and adventure. The realities of their adopted country, and the bonds they forge with one another, changes them. The film is perhaps better categorized as a drama, but the way threads resolve into mostly happy endings betray its true nature. Here, you either buy it or you don't. The ending is either too pat or part of the film's enchanted tone. It doesn't tread the line between serious realism and fairy tale quite well enough for it to work for everyone.
Sweet and charming comedy drama with a great cast and performances!
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