The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Review by David Woodward
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was a surprise hit in 2012 bringing together an ensemble cast of older stalwarts of the British film industry in a bright and (eventually) happy tale set in India.
In the best tradition of successful films, it is not surprising that a sequel (The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) has now hit cinemas. Less surprising perhaps is that this sequel is equally as strong as the first!
The film continues the story of a group of British pensioners who have moved to a retirement hotel in India, run by a young and eager manager. While the potential purchase of a second hotel is the focus of Second Best, there are very strong new storylines for each of the main characters. All these storylines are neatly tied together before the big finale.
Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, Celia Imrie, Penelope Wilton and Ronald Pickup headline the cast again. They all excel at providing an insight into the romantic situations confronting their characters. Judi Dench has always been a personal favourite of mine and she does not disappoint. However, it is cantankerous Maggie Smith who once again steals the show!
Richard Gere is a new addition to the cast and gives the film a refreshing new sub-plot to follow involving one of the minor characters from the first film.
Second Best is relatively long (over two hours) for a film of this nature. With so many stars and so much time given to exploring the interesting storylines, you would be forgiven for thinking that the film may have been better suited to view in a TV mini-series format. This is not a bad observation to make however, as it proves that the film has a lot to offer!
Much has been written about the fact that filming took place in the Indian state of Rajasthan, including the city of Jaipur. While this location certainly adds to the exotic look of the film, it does not necessarily create an urgent need to holiday there!
While the original film was a surprise hit in 2012, the sequel is guaranteed to be a successful entry this time around.
Older audiences who enjoyed the first film will want to see their favourite ‘mature’ stars on the big screen again and younger ones will love the extravagance of the final Bollywood sequences.
4 out of 5
Australian release: 26th February, 2015
Cast: Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith, Richard Gere, Judi Dench, David Strathairn, Dev Patel
Director: John Madden