The Second Best Exotic
You don’t necessarily have to see the original to enjoy the sequel, but
it would help. In “The Best Exotic
Marigold Hotel” (2011), a handful of British retirees are enticed by the
alluring advertising, and decide to relocate to
In the sequel, many of the same characters remain, but there is plenty of
intrigue, both among the staff and the guests.
Sonny is engaged to the receptionist, the beautiful Sunaina (Tina Desai,
who is also a great dancer). But the
big, ugly, green-eyed monster apparently is alive and well in that other
Hemisphere, as well. Sonny finds
himself insanely jealous of Sunaina’s dance partner, with whom she’s been
practicing for the big wedding rehearsal party.
Sonny, normally over-the-top friendly to everyone, is actually mean and
snippy, to not only the man he perceives as his potential rival, but also to his
own mother, whom he apparently still resents for divorcing his Dad.
Then his invective spreads to the new guest, because she happened to
check in at the same time as the hotel inspector (played by Richard Gere) sent
by a potential investor, whom Sonny showers with embarrassingly inordinate and
Meanwhile, the residents have melodramas of their own.
Douglas (Bill Nighy) is suffering from a brand of dementia that causes
him to not even be able to put together an articulate sentence, but he
nonetheless enlists the help of a native busboy, reading a script to him through
an earpiece, still trying to woo the reluctant Evelyn (Judi Dench), who’s
pushing 80 and yet seriously considering a full-time job offer.
Madge (Celia Imrie) can’t decide between several simultaneous suitors,
but seems most charmed by the cab driver who takes her to each serial
rendezvous. Murial (Maggie Smith) is
always good for a few well-timed zingers, but somehow she gets away with it
because people think she’s being humorous.
Norman and Carol (Ronald Pickup and Diana Hardcastle) are supposed to be
in a relationship, but both are wondering how exclusive it’s meant to be.
But mostly what they’re all doing is living their complex, variegated,
messy lives, and that’s supposed to be the point here:
seniors don’t have to consign themselves to the rocking chair.
There’s plenty of living to do, just not a lot of time left, so get out
there and get a life.
OK, the moral to the story isn’t very original.
But the bustling urban Indian setting is, and the exotic context more
than makes up for the tepid plot sequel.
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen is the
Stated Supply, First Presbyterian Church,