2015 Film, Film

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (with a magical, out-of-body experience)


The last time I had an out-of-body experience at the movies was during Lincoln (2012). Sally Field (Mary Todd Lincoln) was bringing it in the most intense private scene with Daniel Day-Lewis (Abraham Lincoln). With Field’s sheer brilliance and the passion that poured from her, I was reminded that I wouldn’t witness much like that in the cinema. This time, I had the magical out-of-body experience during a scene in The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel in which Judi Dench (Evelyn Greenslade) and Maggie Smith (Muriel Donnelly) are the only two players. It’s just the two of them. Sitting there, it was as if I took it all in–these icons together at their best (which they display in everything they do). I felt fortunate, and not since Lincoln had I actually had that out-of-body feeling. The movie is worth it for those few moments, but it is more than that. It combines the wisdom of the old with the “wisdom” of the young. The “wisdom” of the young, however, begs for the guidance of the experienced, and the relationship between Sonny (Dev Patel) and Muriel (Smith) is something we need more of. The mixture of youth and experience is something else we need more of (as well as, of course, a focus on older characters in and of itself). I certainly learned and gained insight. And sometimes I like to teach a bit. And hearing the names of the rest of the cast, including Bill Nighy (Douglas Ainslie), Penelope Wilton (Jean Ainslie), Celia Imrie (Madge Hardcastle), Ronald Pickup (Norman Cousins), Lillete Dubey (Mrs. Kapoor), Diana Hardcastle (Carol Parr), and Richard Gere (Guy Chambers) makes me yell, “Yes!”