The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Director: John Madden
Writer: Ol Parker
Sequel to: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Cast: Judi Dench, Celia Imrie, Bill Nighy, Ronald Pickup, Maggie Smith, Penelope Wilton, Diana Hardcastle, Dev Patel, Tena Desae, Lillete Dubey, Vikram Singh, David Strathairn, Tamsin Greig, Richard Gere
Seen on: 9.4.2015
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is doing well with its permanent senior residents. So well, in fact, that Sonny (Dev Patel) and Muriel (Maggie Smith) decide that they want to expand. But for that to work, they need an investor. They travel to the USA to talk to Ty Burley (David Strathairn), CEO of a chain of retirement homes there. Burley announces that he will send somebody to check out the hotel and make his decision based on that. But that’s not the only thing going on in the hotel: Sonny is getting married to Sunaina (Tina Desai), his mother (Lillete Dubey) keeps butting in – or at least that’s what Sonny feels. Two new guests arrive (Richard Gere, Tamsin Greig) and the old ones (Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Celia Imrie, Ronald Pickup, Diana Hardcastle) all have their own issues to deal with.
Much like the first film, the Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was mostly fluff. It was funny, sweet and rather enjoyable, if you don’t expect too much of it and just want to see great actors in an entertaining film.
The issues I had with the first film – the fetishization of India and the stereotypical characters – are still present in this film as well (as is the subtly colonial claim all those old British people lay to India). But I thought that especially the former was a little improved, even if not necessarily in the best ways. But Lillete Dubey single-handedly improves the film by at least 50%, so there’s at least that.
The latter though is still the same as in the first film. Instead of using the extra time we get to spend with the characters to flesh them out, to add nuance, to show sides to them we hadn’t seen before, the movie and the script keep making the same points over and over again. But at least every one of them gets their own character arc, so that’s at least something.
And the cast is still amazing. All those great names of British acting in one film can only be a joy, but I also really loved the addition of the US-American guys and, above all, Tamsin Greig who is in way too little stuff, if you ask me.
The plot is almost entirely predictable, almost down to the last bit (at one point they actually got me, though), but it doesn’t really matter, because even on first viewing, The Second Best Marigold Hotel is like slipping in a pair of comfy, well-worn pyjamas. Which is ideally what you’d be wearing while watching the film.