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The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel: Movie Review

Hannah Goodwyn


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Remember that movie, Eat, Pray, Love, from a couple of years back. It’s the one starring Julia Roberts as a newly divorced woman who travels the world to rediscover herself. Well, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel has a similar vibe, telling the story of a group of British retirees who move to India. Roberts’ movie wasn’t very intriguing and this one, starring Dames Judi Dench and Maggie Smith, unfortunately follows suit.

Beguiling moments are weighed down by an overcomplicated storyline, not to mention the movie’s immoral leanings.


In want of leisure in their retirement, a group of British retirees decides to relocate to inexpensive and exotic India. What they’re greeted with at their new home is not what was advertised by the hotel’s unorganized, dreamer of a manager, Sonny. Some of these fast-becoming friends embrace the exciting opportunities, while others cling to the hopes of seeing England again.


Rated PG-13 for sexual content and language, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel doesn’t hold back when it comes to adult-themed situations. Faith-based audiences should know that homosexuality and pre-marital sex are present in the film.

Renowned and even royally honored actors make up the cast of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, including Dame Judi Dench (Shakespeare in Love), Dame Maggie Smith (Downton Abbey), Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire), Bill Nighy (Pirates of the Caribbean series) and Tom Wilkinson (Michael Clayton). Dame Smith’s performance outshines the rest as she fully engages you in her trying character, Muriel.

Alas, the finer points of the film are lost within its convoluted story. The bare bones of the tale is a good one as it touches on the issues seniors face. Forgoing the typical elderly community scenario, the characters venture out to discover a full life in their last years. It’s a film that teaches us to appreciate the time we have and to have respect and grace toward older generations. And it does remind you that we’re all going to be in that same boat one day. Still, the back and forth between each character’s ever-changing storylines dilutes its lasting impression.


From the previews, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel looks to be a funny, heartwarming movie about finding peace and purpose in your senior years. Instead, it’s disappointing.

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About The Author


Hannah Goodwyn served as a Senior Producer for, managing and writing for the award-winning website. After her undergraduate studies at Christopher Newport University, Hannah went on to study Journalism at the graduate level. In 2005, she graduated summa cum laude with her Master's from Regent University and was honored with an Outstanding Student Award. From there, Hannah began work as a content producer for For ten years, she acted as the managing producer for the website's Family and Entertainment sections. A movie buff, Hannah felt right at home working as's