Feature

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Several British seniors seek fresh starts in India.

Directed by John Madden
(PG-13)

*** 

It’s a rare film that treats old age as “more than tragic or cute,” said Roger Moore in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. This “light, frothy comedy” about a disparate group of British pensioners abroad may be “a smidge on the precious side,” but it never condescends to its characters, and the stellar cast members—Judi Dench! Maggie Smith! Tom Wilkinson!—ensure that it “never fails to amuse.” The “reliable middlebrow craftsman John Madden (Shakespeare in Love) makes neat work” of the screenplay’s busy story, said Nick Pinkerton in The Village Voice. The characters have all ventured to India with different goals—a cheap retirement, new love, cut-rate surgery—only to land in a less-luxurious-than-advertised hotel that becomes their self-actualization base camp. Though the film carries “a few plotlines too many,” Bill Nighy is particularly effective as a “shy, ineffably decent man” surprised by his adventurousness. Unfortunately, his and every other story is resolved too tidily, said Ty Burr in The Boston Globe. In the end, Marigold Hotel is proof that “art-house films can be as clichéd and soggily sentimental as the big-ticket items at the multiplex.”

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