Movie Review – The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel


The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is based on the 2004 novel These Foolish Things and tells the story of a group of pensioners from England who move to India to spend their retirement at The Marigold Hotel, a luxury resort for the elderly. It boasts an impressive ensemble cast including Tom Wilkinson, Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Ronald Pickup and Maggie Smith, just to name a few. A British comedy-drama with an ensemble cast of old actors playing retirees kind of sounds like Love Actually for seniors, but I gave it a try and enjoyed every minute of this endearing film.

Minor Spoilers Ahead!

The movie starts out in England where the viewer is introduced to the different seniors and their motivations for moving to India. Some have financial reasons for the move, others are just looking for a new lease on life. They each have their own story, but what they all have in common is the feeling of being marginalized by society in England and a shared hope that India can bring them the happiness they can’t find at home.


They all meet each other after getting off the plane and it soon becomes clear that life in India is very different from what they were used to. When they get to “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for the Elderly and Beautiful,” it turns out it isn’t the idyllic resort they were promised in the brochures. Most of them have trouble getting used to India with its constant noise, bustling traffic, and vastly different culture. The hotel is run by the ambitious and likeable Sonny, who does his utmost to present the place as a luxury resort, despite the fact that it clearly isn’t. Sonny is portrayed by Dev Patel, known for his breakthrough role in Slumdog Millionaire. Over time, the pensioners get used to their new surroundings and come to terms with their individual issues.

The film does display some of the usual contrived comedy-drama elements. The most glaring example, the subplot about Sonny wanting to marry a girl his parents disapprove of, is pretty cheesy and predictable. This doesn’t ruin the movie at all though. The acting is great, and the process of how the different characters come to terms with their issues is wonderfully depicted. The movie finds a great mix between powerful emotional moments in the plot and witty lighthearted humor that keeps you laughing throughout the film. A line to remember is the reaction of Ronald Pickup’s character when asked if sex at his age isn’t dangerous: “If she dies, she dies.” he replies, referencing Ivan Drago in Rocky IV.

With all the great stuff coming out in the next few months, this charming British flick could easily get overlooked, but it would be a shame if it did. I give it 3.5 out of 5 Nerdskulls.

Like it? Share with your friends!

Guest Nerd