The story features the adventures of a group of British retirees who for various reasons (mostly financial) decide to move to a luxurious retirement resort in India called “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.”
Unfortunately the glowing portrayal of the hotel on its web site proves to be somewhat misleading. The feckless owner (Dev Patel) has depicted the hotel as he dreams it will be when he has it properly fixed up, but right now it is shabby and run-down with non-functional phones and erratic plumbing.
On the other hand the hotel is in India and that makes up for a lot.
(I think that India has a special place in the hearts and imaginations of the British. Of all the former colonies it is seen as the most exotic and romantic.)
The retirees include Judi Dench as a widow who has spent too many frustrating hours dealing with Indian call centers. Bill Nighy plays a cheerful optimistic man whose wife (Penelope Wilton) seems unwilling to ever forgive him for investing their retirement savings in their daughter’s Internet startup company.
Tom Wilkinson plays a retired judge who grew up in India and dreams of finding his long-lost lover. Celia Imrie’s character is looking for a man, preferably rich and handsome, perhaps a maharaja. Ronald Pickup plays a lecherous old goat.
Maggie Smith has a central role as an unpleasant racist working-class woman who hates Indians but agrees to go to India for a hip replacement rather than wait 6 months to get one from the NHS. Of course given the kind of movie this is she ends up having a change of heart.
This is not a particularly deep movie but it is sufficiently amusing and heart-warming, not to mention well-acted, that anyone who is not a total misanthrope will probably enjoy it.