04 October 2015

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (starring Dev Patel, Judi Dench and Maggie Smith)

We very much enjoyed ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ when we watched it a couple of years ago; I wasn’t sure I would like the sequel, but our son put it on his wishlist and was given it for a recent birthday. We decided to watch it together on Saturday evening.

‘The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ features many of the same characters as the first film, now living quite happily in the hotel for retired/senior citizens. At the start, Sonny (Dev Patel) and Muriel (Maggie Dench) have flown to the United States to apply for sponsorship by a large company as they hope to expand the hotel business. They are told that a hotel inspector might visit..

Most of the film then follows the residents, and two new visitors, as they go about their varying daily lives and businesses. Evelyn (Judi Dench) is startled to be offered a job, despite being almost 80; not only that, but she’s been courted, in a low-key kind of way, by Douglas (Bill Nighy) who is now separated from his wife (Penelope Witten). Judi Dench is excellent in her role, and while Bill Nighy’s character is similar to those he plays in other films, their growing friendship works well.

The plot, such as it is, weaves around the different characters, giving insights into their lives and (in a low key way) that of Indian culture. There are some amusing and also poignant sections, although I found the scenes with Madge (Celia Imrie) and Carol (Diana Hardcastle) to be a little confusing and mostly tedious; neither seemed realistic, even in a caricatured way.

However they were more than compensated for by Evelyn’s story, and also that of Sonny. Dev Patel is excellent as the overly-enthusiastic hotel founder and owner, engaged to be married to Sunaina (Tina Desai) but worried that she’s spending too much time with her brother’s best friend. He is also absolutely convinced he knows who the hotel inspector is…

It’s nicely made, with the bonus of some enjoyable dance scenes, culminating in a celebration which has its own poignancy alongside the tremendous joy and enthusiasm of most of those involved. I’m not sure I liked it quite as much as the first, and am glad to know that there won’t be a third; this one tied off several threads quite neatly, and any more would be too much.

Rated PG which I’d say is about right, although it’s unlikely to be of any interest to children or young teenagers. There’s no violence or anything explicit, but there’s a sprinkling of bad language and plenty of suggestive references.

Recommended, but not as a standalone; the first film gives so much background into the people and situations that this one, I think, would be highly confusing to see without having seen the original.

Review by copyright 2015 Sue's DVD Reviews

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