Film review: The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (8 out of 10)

Simple question. What do you do when you’ve created a movie that surprises many by becoming a smash hit?

Monday, 2nd March 2015, 8:38 am
Richard Gere in The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.
Richard Gere in The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

Simple answer. You follow it up with an even better film.

The original ‘Marigold Hotel’ had a lot going for it, with a host of top quality British actors.

But that’s no guarantee of success.

But director John Madden (Shakespeare in Love, The Debt) and writer Ol Parker allowed the characters to blossom, both British and Indian.

So the same team has come up with this sequel.

And as all the groundwork has been laid and introductions made, the latest movie has more chance to let its characters blossom.

We left the last movie in 2011 with Sonny (Dev Patel) and Muriel (Maggie Smith) in charge of the successful hotel.

However, it’s so popular that most of the guests have stayed on and there’s only a couple of rooms left.

So Sonny is looking to buy another hotel and expand.

Intermingled with this basic story are the various sub-plots involving characters from the original, played by Bill Nighy, Judi Dench, Celia Imrie, Ronald Pickup and Dina Hardcastle.

Pickup and Hardcastle arguably have the weaker of the storylines, but each person’s emotional journey veers from comedy to sadness.

Plus we have Richard Gere and Tamsin Greig in another side-story about a hotel inspector visiting.

The colourful and bustling Indian life is shown with rose-tinted glasses - everyone seems happy and content.

But this isn’t a documentary.

It’s a family-friendly movie that actually throws up some straightforward questions about getting older and living life in the moment.

As you’d expect from a cast like this, the performances are all exemplary.

But it’s really Maggie Smith’s movie.

She has all the best lines and some of the most entertaining moments are when she’s on screen.

On a grey late winter’s day in the UK this film brings some welcome sunshine and warmth.

Film details: The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (PG) 122mins

Directors: John Madden

Starring: Maggie Smith, Richard Gere, Bill Nighy

Screening courtesy of Horsham Capitol