Movie Review: ‘The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’
By Yashy Selvadurai Murphy
An intimate evening being whisked away to India is surely the best way to spend a few hours after a busy work week. While we didn’t exactly hop on a luxury tour, we were immersed in the essence of India through Insight Vacation’s private screening of The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel which has recently hit movie theatres all over the world.
One does not need to have watched the first movie to get into the rhythm of things but it does give you a better insight into the returning characters of Sonny (Dev Patel), the charming Evelyn (Judi Dench), the bumbling Douglas (Bill Nighy) and the epitome of true British humour, Muriel (Maggie Smith). Joining the Brits on their journey through life in India and self-discovery proves to be funny, emotional and thought-provoking at the same time.
On the surface you watch the struggle to upgrade the hotel to a newer venue and prepare for an auspicious wedding celebration, but at the heart of it all, it’s about the relationships between the characters, their chemistry, and most importantly, the fact that life does not need to end at retirement. The plot speaks to starting new journeys, establishing careers and fueling the thirst for adventure, which will resonate with many movie-goers.
The actors and actresses make this movie what it is – an entertaining feel-good movie. However, it is the relationships between the foreigners and the locals that struck a chord with me. You watch as maid and Madame develop an unspoken bond and how a local street vendor becomes an equal partner in a business relationship.
Why there’s even a scene where the driver provides sage love advice to his employer. The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel may seem like a light-hearted comedy on the surface but it does touch upon quite a few serious topics that many people will find relevant.
The film is silly and you will laugh, cry and giggle your way through the wit and charm of its characters. However, it’s not all about happy times. The trials and tribulations are entertaining and emotional heart strings are tugged, especially in the end.
The movie doesn’t romanticize India as one might expect, and if anything, the opening scene in which Sonny is driving on Route 66 in California, might be the most romantic travel angle there is throughout the movie. Yet, the movie leaves me wanting to pack my bags and hop on one of Insight Vacation’s 8 day Essence of India treks through India’s Golden Triangle.
It’s the simple scenes of driving through traffic, the rickshaw guys lined up, and the tiny glimpse of the Pink City that brings out the wanderlust in me. Couple that with the dance scene at the wedding and Richard Gere’s Bollywood dance routine and I’m ready to get my bhangra on at a South Asian wedding!
Whether it’s for a date night or a girls’ night out, watching The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel will be just what the doctor ordered after a stressful work week. Let us know how you enjoyed it and if you’re ready to take in the essence of India!
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