Three words… Absolutely bloody charming!
We pick up in similar vein 1 year after the events of the first film (which you should also definitely see) and the whole cast have shit going on. Dev Patel & Maggie Smith (now business partners) are looking to expand the hotel as well as our lanky hotel owner being betrothed to his fiancée’, Judi Dench is working buying/selling fabrics as an intermediary into her 90’s, Bill Nighy is still trying to sort out his feelings in love and life, Celia Imrie has two wealthy gents on the go and Ronald Pickup/Diana Hardcastle are having some major trust issues with their relationship.
And this is just the start. Enter Richard Gere and Tamsin Greig into the hotel, the former trying to woo the cold stern-faced mother of Patel’s Sonny, family friend Kush (Toast of London’s Clem Fandango) is getting far to close to Sonny’s bride to be and a visit from Bill Nighy’s (not quite) ex-wife ruffles a few feathers for good measure. That’s enough back story and events for a mini series let alone a 2 hour film.
There has got to be something said for the lack of British comedies these days and while strictly not set in Britain the situational humour of the modern culture of Britain is ever-present as it was with the first instalment. John Madden returns to direct and a good job too. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was a lovely film but there was something missing, an x factor if you will but he ups his game this time. Clearly with a bigger budget and bigger ideas the production value of this film leaves the first behind without compromising the look/feel of suburban India.
Madden does an excellent job of balancing all the stories here as it would have been very easy to clog the film up with only one or two. Instead what we have is almost equal screen time without the feeling one character or story taking over and a feeling of emotional involvement for all of these characters in some way or another.
In all honesty it’s hard to find too many negatives with the film. There is a plot hole or two and an element of predictability to most of the story lines, but for me this was of no consequence because you are relating to the experience of the characters more so than looking for plot twists.
Acting wise it’s pretty faultless. The legion of British veterans on show here bring the story to life better than any others could and Dev Patel is just fantastic as the quirky ADHD happy hotel owner with a silver tongue and ambitions of the stars, a real highlight. I also feel the film took little aspects of the average living arrangements of the locals; like over populated houses/slums/market haggling and show them in a culturally rich and colourful way. Some may accuse the film of glossing over the poverty that is going on day-to-day there but to do that would to compromise the whole feeling/message of the film we see here.
A great feel good film which is strong in every aspect. This film won’t be for everyone as there is not much in the way of tense drama or action but what there is loads of is well executed comedy and stories of the characters that you actually care about and in some way or form you will be able to relate to. Fantastic acting, great look about it and considering there is a lot going on it doesn’t get convoluted. This is a film where you don’t realise it but you have been smiling almost the entire way through as it is so much fun to watch how things unfold, I can’t recommend highly enough.