The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was a surprise $100 million blockbuster when it landed on screens in 2011. And just because a film that was geared at a more mature (and wiser?) set of moviegoers did so well, why wouldn’t it do exactly what every other film does when it hits that financial benchmark? It made a sequel!
The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is exactly that. It is second best, but that is still pretty darn fantastic.
One of the charms of the first film was that it gathered some of our favorite British veteran actors in one film. Where else could you see Bill Nighy, Judi Dench and Maggie Smith in a comedy that also touched a deeper nerve about getting older, living life for the moment, exploring the world around us and discovering that we are more alike than we are dissimilar?
For The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, director John Madden and screenwriter Ol Parker have upped the ante and added two Americans to the mix. Richard Gere is a man who claims to be a newly divorced soul who is seeking to write a novel. Or, he may be someone completely else who could influence the future of our beloved Indian hotel. The second American actor to join the cast plays quite the important role in a smaller part, David Strathairn.
As teased in The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel trailer, Dev Patel’s establishment for retirees who are far from done with contributing to society, has filled out all the rooms. He and his hotel manager, Smith, have headed to America seeking investors (like Strathairn). They seek to make what they’ve done so well with the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and expand it to a second and even move further across India.
That title works on two levels, doesn’t it?!
There is a pretty highly involved plot that is so charming and sweet in this follow-up to the smash hit and it’s not just about Patel trying to expand his hotel. There are love questions about Dench and Nighy and the former is pursued to work in a new field in India by a potential employer who thinks she is just dazzling. Exes rear their heads, new romances are born and there’s that wedding for Patel and his beloved. And yes, there will be Bollywood music and choreographed dancing at the reception (we’re a sucker for that).
Dench, Smith, Nighy and Patel all up their game and each brings something fresh to the role that creates a sense of need that this story should continue. They have grown. So many storytellers forget to do that with their characters in a sequel. It is just taken for granted that we know these cats and are content to sit and watch them do the same thing. That is exactly the opposite of what we have here. Each veteran from the first film (all of them, not just the four leads) has meaty moments throughout and therefore, truly earn the audiences return passage to India.
Gere is a fantastic addition. The potential relationship, teased in this The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel clip, between Gere and Patel’s mother is not a given to flower into something romantic. Also, there’s a mystery to his character that the veteran American actor manages to keep close to his sleeve until the plot dictates its reveal. That is another thing that sequels forget, revealing too much too early.
The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel avoids many sequel pratfalls and in fact, ups the ante for anyone seeking to explore a popular story for a second visit.
Madden is the perfect man to continue this story and we are actually quite hopeful that the sequel finds an even bigger audience so that we can build a Third Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. We are far from done with these characters, our The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel review can report. When do we check in to the glorious third one?
Watch The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel online and see how it all got started.