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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel - Movie Review

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a star studded feature film directed by John Madden whose previous work includes Shakespeare in Love, The Debt, and the first installment of this very franchise. The movie stars Judie Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, Dev Patel, David Strathairn, and Richard Gere.

After the success of his first business venture, Sonny (Patel) seeks to expand to a second location although he will need help financing from a major corporation who has hinted that they may be sending an undercover employee to check out his original property. Meanwhile, Evelyn (Dench) and Douglas (Nighy) struggle with where they want their relationship to go and Muriel (Smith) begins to come to terms with her mortality. All of this as Sonny and his fiance Sunaina prepare for their upcoming wedding which may end up being the highlight of this grand adventure...as long as everyone can keep themselves from falling apart.

It was interesting watching this movie without having seen the first one. Even without extensive character development, I was able to pick up who was who and what was going on fairly quickly all while each character evolved and expanded their individual stories. While John Madden has proven to be a more than capable director, this is more a testament to a cast filled with so much talent, there was no way it could all be contained to one movie. From Dev Patel nearly bouncing off the walls with so much energy to Maggie Smith's brilliantly defiant performance as a woman with too little time left to care about finesse and propriety.

Bill Nighy, Judy Dench, Richard Gere, Ronald Pickup, Celia Imrie, Donald Strathairn, Lillette Dubey all turn in fine performances as well with a special shout out to Penelope Wilton who has some of the best lines in the whole movie. Another thing I really liked was how this movie had the look and feel of a classic film that could have easily been made in the 50's or 60's era Hollywood. Still, it must have been no small task taking Ol Parker's screenplay and bringing it to life in such a bold and vibrant way. There are so many stories being interwoven into a single narrative and Madden does a great job of holding it all together.

With a great cast and a genuinely fun story, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a movie that you should definitely take the time to watch. Maybe some day we will get to see a few more of Sonny's hotels go up before it's all said and done.


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