I'd like to start out by giving a shoutout to my friend Jennifer R., who got us free passes to a pre-release screening of this movie. Thanks Jen, you rock!
For a free movie, it didn't suck. Actually, I'd pay to see it again. In the reality known as Naud's World, there's a saying, “I've paid more for less.” Snarky? Maybe, but it means I have paid good money for total crap, so getting something great for free is even better!! Yay!!
It was a fine movie. A happy mix of British and Indian. If you, like me, love Downton Abby, you will love this too. With Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, and Tom Wilkinson you can't go wrong! All four of them could be making a movie about, I don't know... ex-lax? and do it with such style that it would win awards. But back to the movie THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL.
Basically, it's a “Awwww! So cute!!” sort of movie. I was kinda worried going in since it's a movie about old people in an retirement home. I brought a friend and I had a twinge of worry that the movie might be bad, and then I'd have to apologize for the waste of time. Blah blah blah... But guess what? No apologies needed, it's a great movie! My friend loved it too!
Compared to a blow-stuff-up type of movie, it is kinda slow, but it's slow in a stately British / Downton Abby sort of way; not in agonizing “stabbing yourself in the eye would be funner” or the “I'll fall asleep for 30 minutes and not miss a thing” way. For being slow, it clips along quite quickly in the story.
It's Indian in the traditional Bollywood way, but without the singing and dancing. There is a street band that plays some music, and all of a sudden some random hands are waving around bolly style, but that's about all the musical you get. Speaking of music, I really enjoyed the subtle background instrumental “Strangers in the Night” mix at the beginning of the movie, when they all first meet at the airport. (maybe cause it's one of the handful of songs I know SOME of the words to? -- Strangers in the night, exchanging underwear. This one's much to tight, I think I'll try another pair. This one fits just right, I think I'll wear them ToNIIIIIIIIght!! )
OK, enough of that.. back to Bollywood. There is the traditional star-crossed lovers with the impending arranged marriage. Also, the beautiful profession of love which makes everyone cry and love the hero more, 'cause as we learn in every Bollywood movie, love conquers all, everything works out at the end, and it's happily ever after. The takeaway phrase is “it all works out in the end, and if it didn't work out, it's not the end”
Now for the technicalities: Dame Judi Dench, and Dame Maggie Smith are fabulous as always. All the cast is fabulously amazing for that matter! I didn't see anything wrong, no hanging sound booms in the shot, no distracting night-to-day-to-night editing faux pas, and consistency was good. (All those small things glaringly stick out for me, and happily, nothing did here!)
The director is John Madden. My friend Suzy M, (who went with me and cried at all the mushy love stuff -- well, it was beautiful) insisted that it was THE John Madden, from football, cause she met him/talked to him on the phone before. But I really doubted that THAT John Madden now does movies. So, I looked it up. Its the OTHER John Madden, director of SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE, THE GIFT, and HER MAJESTY, MRS BROWN.
I'd like to add, that I forgot how much love LOVE Bill Nighy. (note to self: I need to research him more) he has this lanky, loosy goosy way about him. Not quite wet noodle annoying, but more of a endearing, quirky body movement to him. It's very interesting to watch. I don't know if he's like that naturally, or if it was all a part of the character he created. It's fun, either way. He does have interesting hands. I can't decide if he has a physical handicap or an affectation so he won't have to touch anythign with more than 2 fingers? In other scenes, he uses the entire hand fully extended. (so if anyone knows..)