British retirees travel to India to take up residence in what they believe is a newly restored hotel. Less luxurious than advertised, the Marigold Hotel nevertheless slowly begins to charm in unexpected ways.
At a home for retired musicians, the annual concert to celebrate Composer Giuseppe Verdi's birthday is disrupted by the arrival of Jean (Dame Maggie Smith), an eternal diva and the former wife of one of the residents.
The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is the expansionist dream of Sonny (Dev Patel), and it's making more claims on his time than he has available, considering his imminent marriage to the love of his life, Sunaina (Tina Desai). Sonny has his eye on a promising property now that his first venture, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for the Elderly and Beautiful, has only a single remaining vacancy - posing a rooming predicament for fresh arrivals Guy (Richard Gere) and Lavinia (Tamsin Greig). Evelyn and Douglas (Judi Dench and Bill Nighy) have now joined the Jaipur workforce, and are wondering where their regular dates for Chilla pancakes will lead, while Norman and Carol (Ronald Pickup and Diana Hardcastle) are negotiating the tricky waters of an exclusive relationship, as Madge (Celia Imrie) juggles two eligible and very wealthy suitors. Perhaps the only one who may know the answers is newly installed co-manager of the hotel, Muriel (Maggie Smith), the keeper of everyone's secrets. As ...Written by
Dev Patel was not raised in India. He was born and raised in Britain (born in Harrow, London). His parents were both born in Kenya. They have Indian heritage. See more »
In the opening, Muriel and Sonny are driving down Route 66 and then appear in San Diego. Route 66 ends in Los Angeles, not San Diego. See more »
The man is so handsome he has me urgently questioning my own sexuality. What's left of our hopes for the hotel are in his hands, Mama G, so please, take one for the team.
Are you pimping out your own mother?
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Light comedy at this dead time of year and amusing elderly pairings.
"Tho' much is taken, much abides; and though We are not now that strength which in old days Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts, Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield." Tennyson's Ulysses
Same old, same old: The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel takes its old British actors like Judy Dench and Maggie Smith and gives them challenges related to their aging, be it cynicism about life (Smith) or late-in-life romance (Dench). The messages are relentless, not the least of which crystallized in the excerpt from Tennyson about being "strong in will" and drinking life to the "lees."
It's all about seizing the moment, especially with those elders for whom time is a limited resource. In almost all cases, love is the agenda, either accepting it or fighting it. Dench's Evelyn fights her attraction to adorable but frequently befuddled Douglas (Bill Nighy, who has faltering, hesitation speech patterns down to a science). Maggie Smith's Muriel is crusty with a warm interior and definitely not looking for love.
In between are others looking for love, including the most glamorous, Richard Gere's Guy, who may or may not be a covert inspector for financing the second hotel in the emerging Marigold chain. Gere improbably looks for love with a mother he has just met, but it's his romantic quest that carries that end of the film, improbable as it is.
Although the senior romping is unbelievable at times, Dev Patel's Sonny is plain irritating. His "Sonny" disposition practically sinks the first Marigold Hotel as he mixes his jealousy over a rival for his fiancé with the practicalities of business. After a while his outlandish speeches and out-sized body motions strain credulity and the light romance the film should be.
The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is the child of the first hotel pic, both of which have the temerity to treat old folks as real folks. The struggle for love and the awareness of time's passage are the motifs that drive a sentimental journey with truths catering to Tennyson's romantic vision of travel and life engagement.
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