Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

This bittersweet sequel tells as charming a story as the first movie. All the characters returned with the addition of Guy Chambers, played by Richard Gere. He plays a character with a mysterious reason for coming to the hotel. Sonny, played by Dev Patel, claims to have "a nose that knows". His intuition is telling him that Guy is "the guy" being sent by the San Diego-based company Sonny and Muriel (Maggie Smith) solicited for funding to expand their business with a second hotel. Their partnership is much more than a business relationship. They genuinely care for one another, and the chemistry between them is very sweet.

Sonny has big dreams of success, but continues to be threatened by his perceived nemisis, Kushal (Shazad Latif). He sees the ever-charming Kushal as much more charismatic and successful, and when Kushal tries to interject himself into Sonny's dreams and plans, Sonny becomes threatened. He also sees Kushal as someone who can threaten his impending marriage to Sunaina (Tina Desai).

Evelyn (Judi Dench) continues to grow and thrive in Jaipur as the temporary buyer for a fabric company. She is so successful at it, in fact, that she is offered a permanent job with the company, which includes travel. "But I'm seventy-nine years old", she exclaims when offered the position. "We don't care if you don't", is the employer's reply. Not something we would hear in America I think. Her continuing (non)relationship with Douglas (Bill Nighy) is comfortable as is for her, but Douglas has a different perception of it. He sees them as a couple, and genuinely wants their relationship to move forward. He wants her to meet his daughter, for example, but she always finds reasons to avoid commitment with him.

Guy becomes interested in Sonny's mother (Lillete Dubey), and thereby creates a different threat to Sonny's comfort zone of family. He claims to be at the hotel because his wife left him and he decided to write a book about an aging man heading towards the abyss of old age and loneliness. His interest in Mrs. Kapoor also sparks the strong matriarch to question her own life plan, and softens her heart to new possibilities never before considered.

One thing this movie does, as does its predecessor, is demonstrate that getting older provides opportunities for new chapters and beginnings, not endings and the inevitable finale. Getting older breathes new life into lives that if they had not chosen an adventure in India, would certainly have ended in loneliness and misery before death took its grip on each one. It is a sweet story, with rich characters, wonderful acting, and great music. It is not a fast-paced adventure, but a slow and steady portrait of living live to the fullest at any age.

Larry and I gave it "two thumbs up". I hope you see it and enjoy it as much as we did.

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