For a disparate group of English pensioners, retirement takes an unconventional turn when they abandon their homeland, enticed by advertisements for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, a seemingly luxurious sanctuary for "the elderly and beautiful" in Jaipur, India. On arrival, they discover that the hotel falls somewhat short of the romantic idyll promised in the brochure, but they are gradually won over by the ever-optimistic young manager Sonny, and tentatively embark on a new adventure, finding that life can begin again when you let go of the past.
The combination of Judi Dench and Maggie Smith promises a dignified yet playful tone, and this comedy-drama doesn’t disappoint. A group of pensioners head for Jaipur only to wind up in a ramshackle hotel managed by the inexperienced Sonny (Dev Patel). While Douglas (Bill Nighy) takes it in his stride, wife Jean (Penelope Wilton) refuses to leave the hotel and Muriel (Smith) reels in culture-clash horror. Her racism is relied on too heavily for comic effect, but there’s delightful light humour elsewhere and a lovely spark between Dench and Nighy. Add in Tom Wilkinson, Celia Imrie, Ronald Pickup and a tidy script based on Deborah Moggach’s novel and you have an enjoyable film for the older crowd — even if Patel’s own romantic storyline feels like a bit of a postscript.
Charming, delightful and amusing - just what you'd expect from the star-studded cast of veterans.