The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel follows a group of British retirees who decide to outsource their retirement to less expensive and seemingly exotic India. Enticed by advertisements for the newly restored Marigold Hotel and bolstered with visions of a life of leisure, they arrive to find the palace a shell of its former self.
Though the new environment is less luxurious than imagined and the food is difficult to adjust to, they embark on their individual missions to build a new life.
They are each forever transformed by their shared experiences, discovering that life and love can begin again when you let go of the past. The movie centers around Evelyn Greenslade (Judi Dench). Evelyn is a newly widowed housewife whose home is being sold to pay off her husband’s extensive debts.
Despite her son’s protestations, Evelyn decides to make her new home in India, in a home for the “elderly and beautiful” called The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Once in India, she keeps a blog to inform her family of all that she does and all whom she encounters.
I saw TBEMH at a theater in a community well-known for its attractiveness to retirees. Most of the audience seemed to be over sixty. I am in my 70s. The reactions I heard were all about relating to the characters and the dialogue. Most of the dialogue was more original than Maggie Smith’s comment about green bananas, which I’ve heard dozens of times before.
India itself seemed to be one of the characters, and was ably supported by both young and old Indian characters but also stood on its own with the visuals and the cacophony. The Hindu funeral made me wish I could have one too when my time comes. This is a movie I will see again and again just for the pleasure of seeing people and places that make me feel that it’s really OK to be 70 and “out there.”
Director: John Madden
Year of Release: 2012
Character to watch: Judi Dench as Evelyn Greenslade.
Journal your answers to the following questions after you watch the movie.
- How does this particular character’s journey compare with yours?
- Did the character develop certain characteristics during the movie that you have or that you would like to have? If so, what are those characteristics?
- What obstacles did this character face? What was his or her biggest challenge?
- What would you have done differently if you had been in the same position as the character?
- Is this character the type of person you would be friends with? Why or why not?