Can you believe that three years have passed since the release of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, a wonderful film which resulted in being a great hit, and not just for the older audiences. The film is about five pensioners who continue their Indian journey of self-discovery at the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel in a insightful new chapter of their lives that picks up perfectly from the original.
It is not often a sequel lives up to its first. You’re most likely thinking, “Oh gosh, this is going to be yet another one of those follow up tales that needn’t exist”. But, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel works; it’s amusing, captivating and heartfelt. Though I don’t fall into the age bracket of the main characters, the narrative, acting and script (very cleverly written!) captivates. It’s certainly a film well worth your time, especially if you enjoyed the original. The depiction of an idealised India is continued with bright colours, eye-catching costumes and spectacular Bollywood dance sequences.
As for the cast, I must start off by mentioning Celia Imrie, who didn’t half deliver some laughs, absolutely brilliant (as per usual!) Patel’s Sonny is simply the heart of the film, as he brings consistent enthusiasm alongside his co-stars. Douglas (Nighy) is now a charming (but not very accomplished) tour guide, which he pulls off fantastically, bringing a lot of laughs and humour to the table. Norman (Ronald Pickup), the lustful senior of the bunch, is now partnered with Carol (Diana Hardcastle), but he still believes he is like “catnip to the ladies”. Dench’s performance is faultless, as is Maggie Smith, who delivers the most laughs and continues to be the film’s secret ingredient. The sequel also welcomes two new characters, Richard Gere and Tamsin Greig. Gere gives a solid performance as the newest addition to the bunch, but doesn’t quite fit in with his British counterparts, seeming as controversial in this scenario as Halal meat at your local takeaway.
The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is tough to dislike. Although nothing here can quite match Tom Wilkinson’s heart-wrenching story from the first, it manages to tie up to this in a variety of different ways. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, but it’s also sincere. It’s a true joy to watch, evoking a range of emotions throughout. Time to bring in Mirren for the third installment to the franchise!