Gathering a group of respected actors is usually half the struggle in making a memorable film. They can be only as good as the words given which certain movies fail to recognise. Thankfully ‘Marigold Hotel’s story engages while utilising its cast as best as possible. Its visually splendid location is also a massive plus with India’s many charms equalled by the thespian’s skills.
Retired and bored with their lives, a group of pensioners decide to re-locate to India to start a new life. Among them are Evelyn (Judi Dench), Douglas (Bill Nighy) and Muriel (Maggie Smith). Their fresh beginning is rudely shaken when they discover the hotel they are staying in is less than fantastic. Assured by its manager Sonny (Dev Patel) that it is a ‘work in progress’, they stay. Forming new friendships and making peace with old ones, the group become entranced by India’s allure and many secrets.
Despite copying a rather creaky formula, ‘Marigold’s Hotel’s screenplay maintains interest. Due to the efforts of the fine cast and wonderful location, you genuinely care for the characters. Their need to still be relevant in a sometimes uncaring world is one some can relate with as is their awkwardness in their new surroundings. Whilst some characters fare better than others, the occasionally episodic and somewhat clichéd script generally makes effective use of those involved.
John Madden directs with a steady hand and photographs India in all its amazing glory. It could almost be called a travelogue given the ancient beauty the locale offers. The culture itself plays an important part in shaping the character’s viewpoints thereby making India a true harbinger of personal change. The vast landscape almost becomes a metaphor for the opportunities they face with only their entrenched mind-set a barrier from them fully embracing it.
Audiences will probably know what to expect when seeing this. It isn’t a bad thing however as the performances and scenery make for diverting viewing in its exploration in refusing to surrender to ageing.
Movie Review Rating 7 / 10
Movie Review by Patrick Moore
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Patrick Moore's Movie Review is an alternative look at current movie releases in Australia.