The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Fox Searchlight

Now playing in select cinemas

Moviegoers have always loved tales about traveling abroad to explore a new world and possibly begin a new life.  From “Roman Holiday” to “Under the Tuscan Sun,” “Vicky Christina Barcelona” and “Eat Pray Love,” this is certainly not new territory, but its one we always love to go back to.

Based on the novel “These Foolish Things” by Deborah Moggach, “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” tells of a group of English folks in their twilight years, who – for myriad reasons of their own – sign up to live in a hotel in Jaipur, India run by a young man who has bit off more than he can chew in terms of managing such an establishment to prove his worth as a businessman to both his family and to himself.

The guests have all come for different reasons, ranging from financial troubles to medical ones to a sense of loss or regret.  And the remarkable cast play wonderfully off their troubles, the assault on their senses in this new world, and the dynamics within their new group  of friends.  The whole thing is folded into few snippets of narration by Judi Dench (who, hilariously, is maintaining a blog about her adventures).  To see Ms. Dench alongside Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson, Bill Nighy and all the rest in this setting is a wondrous thing.  It’s the kind of movie that will make you laugh and smile and perhaps open your eyes a bit wider.  Which is exactly what it should do.