On Friday night, I went to the movies with my parents because I'm cool like that. We went to see The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, which was amazing.
It's the story of seven Brits who, for a variety of reasons, decide that they're going to spend their lives at a luxury hotel in Jaipur - The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for the Elderly and Beautiful. There's Douglas and Jean, a married couple who've lost their savings and can't afford to live in a retirement village in the UK. Though neither wants to admit it, their relationship is strained at best. There's Evelyn, who's recently widowed and whose husband did everything, leaving her with a world of new experiences to discover. There's Madge, who's looking for a husband, and Norman, who's lonely. There's Muriel, who needs a hip replacement but can't deal with the six month waiting list in the UK, but who's more than a little bit racist. And finally, there's Graham, who grew up in India and is searching for a lost love.
The brochures bill the Marigold as newly renovated and top-of-the-line. Upon arrival, it is revealed to be anything but. It's a ramshackle building, where many rooms have no doors and are inhabited by pigeons. But the manager, Sonny, has a heart of gold and a vision of how the hotel can be, if he can just scrape together a little more money.
Let's talk about the casting, shall we?
- Maggie Smith as Muriel. Yes, Muriel's a bigot, and her luggage consists of 30 packets of Hobnobs, jars of Branston pickle, pickled eggs and pickled onions. But it's when she sees herself in one of the hotel staff that things start to change. Also, IT'S MAGGIE SMITH. She's an international treasure. Also, I now want to watch Harry Potter. And Downton Abbey.
- Judi Dench as Evelyn. Evelyn takes everything in her stride, getting a job for the first time, embracing the culture, and writing a blog. And let's be honest - I would read the shit out of a blog written by Judi Dench. Also an international treasure. I now want to watch a bunch of James Bond movies.
- Bill Nighy as Douglas. He's kind and thoughtful and eager to experience the people and sights around him. Also also an international treasure. I now want to watch Love Actually.
- Tom Wilkinson as Graham. A High Court judge, he's returning to the place he knew and loved in his youth. His story is heartbreaking. Also, I now want to watch The Importance of Being Earnest and Shakespeare in Love.
- Penelope Wilton as Jean. There's no other way to say it - Jean is a bitch. She's mourning the life she left behind, the life she can no longer afford. And she resents Douglas for getting them into the situation they're in. Also, I now want to watch all the "Harriet Jones, Prime Minister" episodes of Doctor Who.
- Celia Imrie as Madge. She's sick of being used as a babysitter by her children, and decides that she can still find love. A lot of the time, she's the comic relief, but she does it brilliantly. Also, I now want to watch Bridget Jones' Diary.
- Ronald Pickup as Norman. Norman's basically a dirty old man, who's tired of being alone. Again, he's often the comic relief, but he plays the male bravado face incredibly well. Also, I now want to watch Prince of Persia.
- Dev Patel as Sonny. I haven't seen him in anything before (I know, I know. Slumdog Millionaire is on my to-watch list!!), but the emotion that he brings to the role of Sonny is extraordinary.
- ALL THESE PEOPLE IN THE ONE MOVIE.
It's hilarious and heartwarming, and the supporting cast are all wonderful. The friendships that develop and the changes in the characters are beautifully done. And you should all go and see it, because it's brilliant.
Have you seen it already? If so, what did you think?