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Plot Details: This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Geriatric Crowd Pleaser

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2015) on IMDb

Plot Overview

Hotelier Sonny Kapoor (Dev Patel) w/ his second banana Mrs. Muriel Donnelly (Maggie Smith) are breezing along Route 66, the high­way that's the best, in a Mustang heading west. Holly­wood has added some longevity to its geo­graphical extremity of L.A., so now we see them drive down in San Diego town for a business meeting with CEO Ty Burley (David Straitharin) and his investment company that specializes in hotels catering to the old and infirm. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for the Elderly and Beautiful in Jaipur, India, has “been going properly for six months now,” Sonny tells the CEO. “It works. The Marigold Hotel is filled up and nobody is checking out … except for the final check­out. So we need to expand.”

Englishwoman Mrs. Donnelly explains the making of tea to the American board, the importance of heating the water till it boils. The two of them return to India with high hopes, awaiting their “under­cover evaluator to check us out.” Ty said he'd “send this guy,” so when a guest arrives sans reservation, named Guy Chambers (Richard Gere), Sonny bumps the other new arrival Lavinia Beach (Tamsin Greig) to give this “guy” the royal treatment. I'm not so sure that's the best business approach, but there's lots I'm not sure of about this hotel.

The movie audience had trickled into the theater with their canes, helpers, and walkers. When the movie started and they wanted to whisper a few words to their companions, they loudened their voices to compensate for their age-related hearing loss. Some younger women sitting down the row from me put away their cell phones, but one woman's bright screen was beaming itself at me from inside her bag. After a minute or so, an energy-saving circuit turned off her screen, and the old folks gave it a rest, too.

Not so the guests of the hotel. They were all ambulatory, although they couldn't run as fast as they used to. After six months they'd become acclimated to the culture, and they were all working either for the hotel, or out­side it, or on personal projects. Further­more, their libidos were boiling hot. They were either getting married, or getting divorced (in order to remarry), or “getting fortunate” (some with multiple partners.) The only one who wasn't getting any was their designated lecturer, Douglas Ainslie's daughter Susan (Fiona Mollison) come to give a speech “Beating the Bubble” (“It's bollocks”) on economics after her fiasco of an inter­net start-up company didn't. While one might hesitate to call this hotel a love boat, it would easily qualify as a love scow.


Various tensions conspire to undermine Sonny's enthusiasm for his wedding preparations to his beautiful fiancée Sunaina (Tina Desai). It eventually reaches the point where he better apologize to her and promise to be a better husband than he's been a fiancé. Solomon did advise, (Eccl. 9:9) “Live joy­fully with thy wife whom thou lovest all the days of thy life.” The “Route 66” song that opened this movie had been the theme song of the TV series of the same name in which the two stars “get [their] kicks” each episode along the way. The road of engage­ment/marriage should be similarly gay, especially at the sign­posts: Sangeet the family party & Shaadi.

Speaking of labels their happy and gay marriage is a different animal from the homo­sexual marriage a family arranged for a respectable Indian lad in the first “Marigold Hotel” movie–2011–after he'd been “greatly disgraced” when caught with his fellow in activity that went “beyond friend­ship.” They found him a woman to marry with full under­standing of his homosexual behavior, and it seemed to work out well. That is a homo­sexual marriage. In this second movie, there's some ribald humor when Sonny is selling Guy to his mom, Mama G (Lillete Dubey) whom he's interested in, as “so handsome, he has me urgently questioning my own sexuality.” That is later followed by some humor about a wedding in which the groom ended up in bed with the best man. If you call them "person 1" and "person 2", and pass appropriate legislation, there you've got a same-sex union as some juris­dictions would have it. Since the courts have been finding that same-sex marriage does no harm to garden variety marriage, and here this movie shows that lack of gaiety at the sign­posts does indeed harm marriage, we dare not infringe upon the newly won legal rights of same-sex marriages by calling them gay marriages; the latter desig­nation should be reserved for the happy goal of any marriage. And, of course, homo­sexual marriages, we've had those all along when a homo marries a woman (or a lesbian a man) for what­ever reason.

Solomon follows that first advice with, (Eccl. 9:10) “What­so­ever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.” The seniors seem to be following it by staying active until the end.

Production Values

“The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” (2015) was directed by John Madden. Its screen­writer was Ol Parker. The first “Exotic” film had been based on Deborah Moggach's novel, These Foolish Things. This second one stars Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, and Bill Nighy along with other great British thespians Celia Imrie, Ronald Pickup and Penelope Wilton. American Richard Gere does some dancing.

MPAA rated it PG for some language and suggestive comments. It was filmed mainly in London, England, UK. The performances turned out fine. So did the direction, cinema­tog­raphy and film score. The music is by Thomas Newman who tailored his style to suit the movie.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

Here the movie industry seemed to want to package its money making formula of youth and sex in wrinkled skin. While the pensioners started out with charm, the audience eventually stops caring about them and their petty conflicts. The pending marriage, how­ever, holds our interest as Sonny makes mistake after mistake preparing for it and its gay celebration rather than for the out­come of a Thomas Perry novel: “Paree isn't going to be quite as gay as he thought” (343). Despite some misgivings I enjoyed it and recommend it.

Movie Ratings

Action Factor: Weak action scenes. Suitability for children: Suitable for children ages 9-12 and above. Special effects: Average special effects. Video Occasion: Good Date Movie. Suspense: A few suspenseful moments. Overall product rating: three and a half stars out of five.

Works Cited

Bible quotes were from the King James Version, Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software.

Perry, Thomas. Strip. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010. Print.