The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel Review - Check In and Stay For the Fun

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The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, from Fox Searchlight Pictures and Participant Media, reunites the core group of lovelorn and apparently lost British Ex-patriot’s together in a locale awash in vibrant customs and culture for the newest installment in this magical adventure.

Directed by John Madden, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel stars Dame Judi Dench and Dame Maggie Smith, along with Bill Nighy, Dev Patel, Celia Imrie, Penelope Wilton, Ronald Pickup, Tina Desai, Diana Hardcastle, Lillete Dubey, Tamsin Greig, Shazad Latif with David Stratharin and Richard Gere.

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, for those who didn’t see the first, catches up with a group of Brits now living in India, who, well into their the golden years, have embarked on new journeys, allowing themselves to see and be what the restraints of society had held them to until after giving it all ushered them out with labels designed to chain them to rocking chairs and quiet existences.

Our group, made up of a collection of world’s best talent, have settled down into new routines, running a small hotel, sourcing exquisite fabric, trying new lives, changing, shucking the constraints as the locals now very much a part of their lives, infuse them with a contagious youthful spirit of hope intertwining emotions once considered only for the young and wasted on the old.

We meet our proprietor Muriel Donnelly played by Dame Maggie Smith in a Ford Mustang on Route 66 traveling with Dev Patel, also reprising his role as Sonny, behind the wheel, top down, cruising the stretch of highway known as the American Mother Road as the two, in anticipation, travel the historic highway in search of funding for expansion.

Today’s meeting lands them in San Diego as the renovation of the First Exotic Marigold Hotel was well underway with a core group of guests, and basically no room at the inn with plenty of need. Seeking assistance from Ty Burley, a bearded and distinctly aged David Strathairn, the pair seek to be a part of as Sonny states, “the furthest outpost of the Evergreen hotel chain.”

With that done, and wedding plans beating down upon him like the hot sun without shade, our suddenly commitment shy, Sonny, is sabotaging his own engagement with unnecessary concerns and jealousies. Granted his fiancé, Sunaina, played by Tina Desai, is quite beautiful and while enmeshed in tradition she is also modern and understands the difference between friend and lover.

Soon we are back at the Marigold, with new lives and new beginnings popping up everywhere to which the challenges and patterns which held, cemented, us to the past seem to rear once again.

As our group grows accustomed to romance and odd romantic feelings which one would have thought would be tamer at this stage, one realizes that love, certainly, knowns no time, or situations or proper etiquette or moments. Suddenly love, is upon everyone and with it the old memories of past hurts and what if’s show up, in force, pulling at the heartstrings and our group, each, decides to wait as if time were a luxury.

So with precious moments ticking two new guests check into the Marigold, Tasmin Greig plays Lavinia Beech and Richard Gere, Guy Chambers. The two, each unknown to the others and each other are on fact finding missions to determine the value of the property as investors are looking into the proposals with interest.

What neither expected was that again, when life became uncluttered, past lives gone, constraints disappeared and the expected finally accomplished there would still be time for new beginnings.

Reprising her role, Dame Judi Dench, plays Evelyn Greenslade, now suddenly presented with not one but two altering moments. With Douglas Ainslie, played by Bill Nighy, also returning the two find themselves moving toward, sidestepping, closing in on, the possibility of, maybe, well, love actually. And they play it nicely as it takes its twists and turns and builds into a simple yes.

The Marigold regulars are all faced with the shifting emotions and patterns which held them to the past and almost brings them to a full circle in life.

Marigold Hotel mixes the Indian/Bollywood style culture/film-making and there are those flashy musical numbers, all beautifully done, with vibrant reflections of local customs and culture.

I really enjoyed The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. The mix of old and young, the familiar talent, the performances all exceptional, waiting to see how situations are played and handled,  besides being entertaining, it is a masterclass.

The story is good, with a talented ensemble, beautiful combination of cultures and with added flair. I really enjoyed the ride from the opening sequences through the flashy Bollywood traditional wedding dance at the end. It is beautifully directed and handled.

The perfection of imperfection allows for genuineness, especially in the wedding dance, when our ensemble cast join the India actors, which hold their own with the level of genius, for the traditional wedding dance. While not all in step, or understanding left means the other left, the cast become guests, before our eyes, dancing to the tune of romance, and celebration.

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is genuine fun, with bits of golden wisdom handed to those who hear, a pleasure trip, seeing the countryside through local’s eyes.

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel opens everywhere March 6, 2015 and is playing in select cities now.

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