#REVIEW: “THE SECOND BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL”
Review by George Kozera for Mr. Will Wong
I approach Sequels much the same way I do when attending a High School Reunion – a mixture of excitement combined with fear and dread. Will I be stuck at the table where all the stories are boringly repetitious (“You went where and got hungover again?” “You mean, they kidnapped your daughter again?” “Wow! You moved to the Bahamas and the great white shark followed you there?”). Or will I be seated at the table with old Friends who have moved on with their lives and regale the table with new and fun stories? I am happy to say that THE SECOND BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL is the latter!
After a brief stop in California, where Sonny (Dev Patel) and Muriel Donnelly (Maggie Smith) hope to impress Investors with their vision of expanding the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for the Elderly and Beautiful franchise, we are back in Jaipur India. Evelyn (Judi Dench) and Douglas (Bill Nighy) have jobs and are still unsure how to act upon the attraction they feel towards each other. Norman and Carol (Ronald Pickup, Diana Hardcastle) wrestle with the concept of fidelity in a new relationship while still being enticed with new sexual conquests. In between reading 50 Shades of Grey, Madge has problems choosing between two wealthy Suitors. All the while, Sonny is overwhelmed with all the balls he is juggling in the air: his upcoming engagement and wedding to the gorgeous Sunaina (Tina Desai); his jealousy over the friendship between his Fiancée and her rich, handsome Friend; the unwanted advice from his no-nonsense Mother; securing the money to buy a new Hotel to expand his Hospitality Empire; and what to do with the two new Arrivals to the Hotel. Suspecting that Gus (Richard Gere) is there to report back to the investors in California leaving Lavinia (the wonderful Tamsin Greig – who is also great on TV’s Episodes) with the lesser accommodation and attention.
THE SECOND BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL is a feast for the eyes and ears. Vivid colours awash the screen. The Soundtrack by Thomas Newman is lively and energetic and almost made me want to join a Zumba/Bollywood exercise class! Veteran Thespians – Dench, Smith and Nighy – NEVER fail to impress. The love they have for their Characters are evident in every scene. In lesser hands, the obsequious Sonny could be an offensive, clichéd Character but Patel elevates the role with humour, strength and charisma. On a lesser note, Gere has little to do except look unnaturally, impossibly-handsome and the Subplot between his Character and Sonny’s Mother adds nothing to the Movie.
I love how this Movie shows us that everyone can have an exciting new chapter in their lives to discover and savour. Getting older does not have to mean sitting in a rocking chair with a cat on your lap and watch the world pass you by. There will always be a wealth of new opportunities, challenges, friendships and romance. I had a permanent smile on my face throughout the two hours I spent at THE SECOND BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL and I cannot wait for the next Reunion!
Fox Searchlight release THE SECOND BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL on Friday, March 6, 2015.