"The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" Proves the Brits Have Cornered the Retiree Movie Genre

Maggie Smith as Muriel in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.
Photo Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures

A group of disparate British retirees is lured to the Indian subcontinent for cut-rate surgery, low-overhead living, or reasons they hope to keep private. They find themselves together under the roof of the titular hotel. The cast is led by Judi Dench as a long-sheltered widow looking to stand on her own two feet. Marigold Hotel has that oh-so-tactful British touch, the seeming result of an industrywide gentleman's agreement never to go too far. The material is ribald but, of course, never crude and sewn with "Life begins at 60" affirmations; the plot twists are about as venerable as the cast and predictably affecting when performed with such old-hand proficiency. Although the film is overextended by a few plot lines too many, you'll look forward to Tom Wilkinson's turn as a retired high court judge who still goes fluttery over the memory of an affair from schoolboy days and Bill Nighy as a shy, ineffably decent man, quietly surprised by how nimble he becomes in this new atmosphere.

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