The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is old time fun

Ben Atwater

Old age is the great inevitable bondage from which we all try so hard to run from but can never escape. Such is the theme of the 2012 film The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

Judi Dench and Bill Nighy in The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (AP photo)
Judi Dench and Bill Nighy in The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (AP photo)

The film is about a handful of British senior citizens who travel to a hotel in India to live out their golden years in the hope of getting one last kick in the vibrant city of Jaipur. The hotel is run by Sonny, an ambitious young entrepreneur with his mother, brother and girlfriend.

The first film was a pleasant film, bolstering a very impressive cast including Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy and Dev Patel. In India, the seniors find a second lease on life, with many finding love, purpose and themselves.

2015 has brought many good films so far, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel being one of them.
Picking up where the first film left off, Sonny is attempting to expand his operation while prepping for his wedding to his girlfriend. An Indian wedding is no small deal, and gets everybody at the hotel riled up.

The hotel residents are still finding themselves, with each resident having their own storyline. These storylines include one of the residents accidently putting a hit on his girlfriend, a woman having to choose between two suitors, a case of Sonny mistaking the identity of a hotel inspector and Bill Nighy’s character developing a romantic relationship with Judi Dench in the presence of his ex-wife played by Penelope Wilton.

All of these storylines are set against the backdrop of Sonny’s wedding plans while he faces tremendous pressures from his family to work with a competitor in expanding his hotel. Meanwhile, Maggie Smith has taken onto helping Sonny run the hotel, finally finding meaning in her life. Smith acts as the keeper of everyone’s secrets.

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a joyous romp with a delightful plot and charming characters.
The ensemble of British old-timers effortlessly plays aged characters that make a dynamic group of characters. Sonny and his family also create a dysfunctional group that seems very believable. The plot is at times predictable, but nonetheless enjoyable. At times, the nature of the story seems Shakespearean in its vast cast of players each having their own story arc.

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is funny at some times and heartfelt at other times. The movie serves as a great companion piece to the first film, further developing on its themes and character. I wouldn’t say the sequel is any better or worse than the first film, with both being a showcase of remarkable talent. While not exactly an Oscar caliber film, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a charming romp with a great ensemble.