If you are a writer who enjoys analyzing character and story development in movies, do yourself a favor and rent “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.” This film has it all: a compelling story, interesting characters, an exotic setting, humor, and heart.
The story revolves around a group of retirees from Britain who travel to India to live in a retirement hotel. The hotel turns out to be a rustic (albeit charming) work-in-progress. Nothing like the elegant pictures on the hotel’s website. The way each character adapts to this situation—and to each other—is an excellent study of human nature.
Each person has his/her own motives and agenda for coming to India. For instance, one woman is there for a hip operation. She struggles with her own racial prejudices and fear of the unknown. Another woman, who has never taken risks, has come there to be fully engaged with life. One of the men is haunted by ghosts of his past, from when he lived in India as a boy. The manager of the hotel is an idealistic young man who believes that “everything will work out in the end…and if it hasn’t worked out yet, it’s not the end!”
The unique setting is key: crowded and colorful markets, ancient traditions, unusual food, interesting people, beautiful architecture…all brought to life with gorgeous cinematography. The way in which each character relates to their environment adds a dynamic layer to the story.
A stellar cast (Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Dev Patel, among others) and a terrific script made this one of my favorite films of 2012. Need creative inspiration? Immerse yourself in “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.” You’ll be glad you did.