The Best Exotic Marigold HotelDirector: John Madden, 20th Century Fox, Rated PG, 124 mins
As seen in various travelogues “incredible India” is the picturesque setting for John Madden’s adaptation of Deborah Moggach’s 2004 novel These Foolish Things which tells the heartwarming story of a group of English retirees who travel to India for different reasons in the hope of finding happiness and renewal.
Madden (The Debt) has assembled a stellar cast of British actors to play the key characters that include James Bond’s Judy Dench as Evelyn, recently widowed with a stack of debts but hoping to become financially independent; Harry Potter’s Maggie Smith as Muriel, initially a bigoted woman seeking a hip replacement; Tom Wilkinson (The Green Hornet) as Graham, a retired judge wanting to find his Indian companion; Bill Nighy (Chalet Girl) as Douglas; Penelope Wilton (TV’s Downton Abbey) as his dissatisfied wife Jean; Ronald Pickup (Prince of Persia) as the frisky Norman keen to make it with younger women; and Celia Imrie (St Trinians’) as Madge hoping to find a rich husband.
After booking their accommodation online, all seven seniors end up at the less than exotic Marigold hotel in Jaipur run by the inexperienced hotel manager, Sonny (Dev Patel – Slumdog Millionaire) whose mother (Lillete Dubey – Delhi in a Day) is keen for her son to get rid of the hotel together with his unsuitable girlfriend, Sunaina (Tena Desae in her debut role).
Madden’s beautifully told story of a group of elderly people seeking to be rejuvenated through their Indian sojourn in addition to achieving their individual pursuits is both poignant and entertaining which is further enhanced by Brad Davis’ colourful cinematography of the bustling Indian town.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is an enjoyable movie with the right doses of humour, joy, love and sadness that has the added highlight of including perfectly pitched performances by Dench, Nighy and Smith as they come to grips with the reality of their lives.
VIC'S VERDICT: 4 Rubber Stamps
The Deep Blue SeaDirector: Terence Davies, Transmission Films, Rated M, 98 mins
A sorrowful story of infidelity in the London of the 1950’s is the backdrop for Terrence Davies’ latest movie (having only previously directed The House of Mirth in 2000) and starring the talented actress Rachel Weisz (The Whistleblower) as the despondent Hester, (the unfaithful young wife of a judge) who is desperately in love with the carefree Freddy (Tom Hiddleston – War Horse) a dashing former RAF pilot.
Based on Terence Rattigan’s play of the same name, the helpless Hestor is seen in the opening scenes as attempting to take her life after leaving her older husband, Sir William Collyer (Simon Russell Beale – My Week with Marilyn), a high society judge who has provided her with a comfortable lifestyle but a loveless marriage.
In his rather slow paced production Davies has attempted to paint a picture of post war London and its impact on the lives of three main characters – Hestor, her older husband Sir William and her lover Freddy, a young man exuding excitement and passion.
In spite of Weisz’s strong performance as Hestor there is a kind of shallowness displayed by both Beale and Hiddleston in the portrayal of their characters.
Regrettably, Davies’ moody and sad storyline concludes somewhat unsatisfactorily with the only other entertainment highlight being the string of popular post war songs sung at the pubs.
VIC'S VERDICT: 2 Rubber Stamps
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