Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)

Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)
Oh, to be in England...

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for Mother's Day

For Mother's Day I was taken to see The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Not by my children of course, but by the man who made motherhood happen, The Squire as he is affectionately known. And it was wonderful. Magical one might say.

Ready for adventure at The Marigold Hotel

A group of British retirees who cannot afford to live well in England decide to "outsource" their retirement to India. And mayhem ensues.

Based on the novel These Foolish Things by Deborah Moggach (screenplay writer of Pride and Prejudice 2005) one wonders why director John Madden (Shakespeare in Love, Mrs. Brown) didn't have Deborah adapt her own book for the big screen. I think she might have done a better job, but I am quibbling here. I loved the film and I will definitely purchase it, to be watched on very hot days and on very cold days!

Judi Dench and Celia Imrie in Marigold Hotel

Judi Dench plays a recent widow who had trusted everything to the husband who left her without a home or enough money to live on in the end. Of course, she ends up landing on her feet and blogging about it!

Judi Dench with Tom Wilkinson and Bill Nighy in Marigold Hotel

Tom Wilkinson's character was not in the book but was introduced into the story to hint at India's British colonial roots. A High Court Judge (one assumes he could afford a better hotel and is slumming it) who grew up in India but has never returned since he left in disgrace to attend University in England. I won't tell you any more but his story is a lovely addition to the film.

Dev Patel with Tena Desae

Dev Patel's character Sonny is the scatterbrained dreamer who is trying to make his father's vision of the hotel come true. Beautiful girlfriend from a different social class, disapproving know how it goes.

Maggie Smith in Marigold Hotel

Maggie Smith is delightful as a bigoted Brit who has to travel to India to avoid a six month wait in England for a new hip. I think I loved her story the best and she obviously had fun with the role.

The Squire loved Bill Nighy the best, quite rightly. What a joy to watch. He is such a character!

Ravla Khempur, the real Marigold Hotel near Udaipur

The real hotel, called Rayla Khempur is apparently much nicer than it is portrayed in the film and is available for stays if the film made you want to see the beauties of India. Wild Frontiers ( has put together a 10-night Marigold Hotel Rajasthan Tour which takes in locations from the film, as well as Agra, Pushkar and Delhi.

So please go and see the film. Just look at the amazing cast and you know you will love this film. Yes the ending is a bit pat and cliche but you want a happy ending right? If you are like me you will leave the theatre with a smile and a craving for Indian food. If you are like The Squire, you will love the film but shudder and say that you will never ever travel to India (or indeed China he says). :)


  1. hi Jenny - haven't seen the movie yet but with such a charming cast - definetly won't miss it. Happy Mother's day to you and your readers. a special day for especial people...

    1. Hi mommbsta, hope you had a lovely Mother's Day too. Let me know how you like it.

  2. It is a lovely movie not only for those of us who are getting on in age, but also for those who appreciate the wonderful actors in it. I also believe the younger generations who want a connection with those older than themselves will appreciate it too@ They will laugh and cry along with us.. and maybe understand that we are not different just older.

    1. Hi AZGram- the director John Madden thought there weren't enough films about older people. And you are right, any age group would love this one. I'll show it to my kids when I get it on DVD (next Mother's day?)

  3. I haven't seen it yet either but what a cast. Sounds fascinating.

  4. I'll have to check this one out. I've been a big Bill Nighy fan ever since I saw "Love Actually" in 2003.

    1. Hi Olga, Christmas is all around you! He is marvelous!

  5. Your niece and I went to see "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" last Friday (elementary schools in Toronto had a PA day), and it was a terrific movie! However, one of the funniest moments happened just before the film started, when the woman sitting in front of us (a bit more senior than me, but not by much!) turned and asked if this was the theatre showing the "Exotic Hotel" movie - I guess seeing a 10 year old sitting in the audience behind her made her think that she was in the wrong theatre. I assured her that Julia had fairly sophisticated taste in films (after all, she loves "Love Actually" and really liked "The Artist" - and that was a silent film!) and that she was, indeed, in the right theatre.
    We both really liked it, and Julia's favourite character was the one played by Maggie Smith - because she was changed the most by her trip to India. This is a kid who loves watching "The Amazing Race" on television, so I'm sure that she thought this was The Amazing Race for Seniors!
    I loved all the story lines and the acting was fantastic! Very touching ... and yes, I also left the theatre with a craving for Indian food. Next time you're in Toronto, we'll go to a great Indian buffet that I've found.
    Love, Big Sister

  6. Hi Jenny,
    Saw the Second Best Exotic Merigold Hotel last night. I think I liked it even better than the first! So much fun.




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