The pleasure of seeing a supergroup of Brit-veterans soon withers in an OAP comedy that plumps for light laughs over deeper insights.
Stream The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
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Charming, delightful and amusing - just what you'd expect from the star-studded cast of veterans.
Judi Dench is especially good; playing a vulnerable character, for a change, she allows her habitual toughness to give way to uncertainty, fear, and moments of gathering resolve, and she delivers one of her most wide-ranging and moving performances. [7 May 2012, p. 81]
Madden pads the film with shimmering images of Jaipur and its surroundings; a midmovie funeral sequence - 'cause somebody's got to kick the bucket! - even manages to be somewhat evocative and moving. The rest makes you long for senility to set in, but quick.
The powerhouse cast is so capable, the actors just about manage to play the picture as if it were a "Midsummer Night's Dream"-style frothy farce, with marigold garlands and picturesque poverty.
The plot twists are about as venerable as the cast and predictably affecting when performed with such old-hand proficiency.
It is oddly like an Agatha Christie thriller with all the pasteboard characters, 2D backstories and foreign locale, but no murder.
Director John Madden and an ensemble of polished actors in their second primes make this a constant amusement and a nice alternative at the movies.