I Was wondering how best to describe this movie, to a certain extent it is a comedy, a situation comedy rather than anything slapstick, it is very British. Indeed just as there may be some Indian stereotypes portrayed in the movie there are certainly a number of British stereotypes shown, indeed that’s probably the key to the movie. To a certain extent it is also a romance in that there is the normal romance between the individuals which or course happens – with hilarious repercussions, but there is also the romance with India, Tom Wilkinson (Rocknrolla, 2008), playing a retired High Court judge goes there trying to find a love he left behind 40 years ago, in the days when he lived in India.
Directed by John Madden, one of those very under-rated but excellent directors, who although you may not have heard of him, you will have heard of and appreciated his work with outputs such as Mrs Brown, 1997 or more recently The Debt, 2010. The screenplay is by Ol Parker, who although not too well know, did “cut his teeth” on Grange Hill with the BBC. The Film itself is based on the novel by Deborah Moggach who wrote the screenplay for the 2005 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.
There is a scene where the “English” cast are sitting in the airport waiting for their flight when the camera pans wide and reveals them sitting in a row of seats and you just have to appreciate the talent in from of you. Dame Maggie Smith (Downton Abbey, 2010; The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, 1969 ) plays the part of a working-class former nanny/house keeper with very bigoted views who by force of chance finds herself in India at the Marigold and after the initial shock starts to settle in with some great lines delivered. Having a second Dame in the film is no bad thing and Judi Dench lives up to here reputation playing a widow who always had things done for her (to disastrous ends) and now finds herself beginning a new life in India. Bill Nighy (Page Eight, 2011) and Penelope Wilton (Doctor Who, 2005) play a retired couple who begin to realise that it is loyalty and duty which are keeping them together. Ronald Pickup plays a geriatric Don Juan, while Celia Imry (Calendar Girls, 2003) plays a female version, together they make an improbable team, that just happens to work on screen.
Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire 2008, Skins 2007) play the hapless young man trying to make a success of the crumbling ruin of a hotel which his late father ran into the ground. Owning a one third share with his other brothers who are quite successful in life he is seen as the family failure, so much so his mother comes to take over and sell the hotel. As if life was hard enough he has to try and get his mother to accept the girl he loves and wants to marry despite his mother picking a suitable arranged bride. It is to Patel’s credit that he stands equal to such great acting talent.
I’ve not spoken too much about the plot, it is simple a group of people find strength in new form friendships in a strange country and in doing so find out much about themselves.
8/10, a real feel-good movie of the type the British are great at producing, even the soundtrack contributes without stealing the limelight. The trailer does not do it credit there is a lot more going on than just a group of fish out of water…