The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
starring Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Dev Patel, Celia Imrie, Penelope Wilton, Ronald Pickup, Tina Desai, Richard Gere and David Strathairn
screenplay by Ol Parker
directed by John Madden
Based on a novel by Deborah Moggach, this is a funny little movie about a group of English pensioners living out their golden years in a residential hotel in India - The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel - jointly run by an Englishwoman (Maggie Smith) and a young Indian man. They need money to expand their retiree operation, so they approach a U.S. investor specializing in elderly services. The U.S. company promises to send an anonymous inspector to their hotel to appraise the operation as an investment. This is the basis for comedy. First, the ensemble cast portray a range of kooky people. Then the young Indian manager/owner, Sonny Kopoor (Dev Patel), is a fool. Third, the anonymity of the inspector (Richard Gere) primes the story with mistaken identity that contributes to a series of comedic errors. In addition, there are romantic goings-on among the residents. It’s a sweet, distracting bit of entertainment, but not an exceptionally great movie, I thought.
The title “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” is a pun. Sonny Kopoor’s dream as a geriatric service entrepreneur is to buy a larger, better building. There is unexpected family trouble when Sonny’s brother Kushal (Shazad Latif) buys his favored property out from under him. The brothers eventually make peace, but instead of going into business together, Sonny remains intent on his own business plan. In the end he settles on another location to open a new retirement hotel in addition to the one he already has. So the new location is the Number Two (Second) Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Even though the title makes it sound like it is the lesser quality hotel, either interpretation is equally possible. It’s a pun.
Here is a collection of my favorite quotations, mostly from the mouth of Sonny:
“It takes team work to make a dream work.”
“Instinct is the nose of the mind, and I have a large nose.”
“How did you find America?” “I left with low expectations and came back disappointed.”
“Just because I look at you when you talk, don’t think I’m interested or listening.”
“The great and terrible thing about life … there’s just so much bloody … potential.”
“The man is so handsome that he has me urgently questioning my own sexuality.”
“Sometimes it seems to me that the difference between what we want and what we fear is the width of an eyelash.”
“Coincidence is just a word for when we cannot see the bigger plan.”
“There is no such thing as an Ending. Just a place where you leave the story.”