The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

The poster for John Madden’s film The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel features the slightly retouched images of stars Maggie Smith, Judi Dench and Bill Nagy, British cinema royalty, which is fitting because the film itself is a “retouching” of the “first” BEMH, which starred the same. Both pictures are set in the crowded but charming Indian city of Jaipur, and tells the story of aging Brits living in a worn but not unappealing inn run by an excitable, jug-eared kid named Sonny. Sonny (played by the wonderful young actor Dev Patel) wants to expand his popular enterprise and is hoping to make a good impression on a stealth American inspector who he suspects is in the guise of a recently arrived guest (Richard Gere). Sonny is the embodiment of accommodation and self-deprecation. He’s spry angularity to the rest of the cast’s sometimes lugubrious doughiness and is pure joy to watch. The movie, like the inn, has a radiant warmth that embraces but doesn’t overwhelm. Though I’m a fan of most of the movie’s stars, I went to SBEMH with no expectations but was beguiled by its colors and refinements. Recommended.


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