The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (8/10)
by Tony Medley
Runtiime 122 minutes.
OK for children.
Hollywood meets Bollywood in this sparkling sequel to the 2012 surprise
breakout hit, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, based on a novel by
Deborah Moggach about a retirement home in India. On a budget of $10
million, it had a worldwide gross in excess of $136 million. So,
naturally, Fox Searchlight rounded up the usual suspects, Judi Dench,
Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, Dev Patel, Celia Emrie, and the others, added
David Strathairn and charming Richard Gere, and gallivanted back to
India for a follow-up while all the actors are still alive.
John Madden returns to direct from another script by Ol Parker, and they
haven’t lost their touch. What caught on in the first was that these
were senior citizens who were getting on with their lives and those
lives included romance! Yes, Virginia, there is romance after 60 and
this film concentrated on it.
The sequel continues that theme, which is the gist of the story despite
a plot about the ever enthusiastic Sonny (Patel) trying to finance a
second Marigold Hotel while preparing to marry Sunaina (Tina Desai).
Frankly, I never did get into the idea of the second hotel because the
lives of these people are what the movie is about and what make it
The Indian locations add immeasurably to the film. The “Marigold Hotel”
is actually Ravla Khempur, a charming royal palace turned equestrian
hotel in the village of Khempur outside the scenic lake district of
Added to the story and the fine acting is the eye-popping color that is
so typical of Bollywood. It even closes with a wonderful dance involving
the entire cast.
No more need be said. Anyone who liked the first won’t be disappointed
with the sequel.
Nobody thought the first would do much, so a sequel was the last thing
on their minds. Now a third installment with this mostly British cast is
not an idea to be summarily dismissed.