Throwback Thursday: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011)

Retirement presents an interesting conundrum. Our working years are over, but that does not mean that our lives are over. There are opportunities for experiences that simply could not or did not exist when we had to go to work.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011) is the story of a group of British retirees who decide to pick up and move to India. Among them are Evelyn (Judi Dench), Douglas (Bill Nighy), Muriel (Maggie Smith), Graham (Tom Wilkinson), Jean (Penelope Wilton), Norman (Ronald Pickup), and Madge (Celia Imrie). They find a rundown hotel and in addition to the individual adventures, go about fixing it up.

Assisting them is Sonny (Dev Patel). Sonny is long on enthusiasm and dreams, but short on the practical aspects of opening and maintaining the hotel. He also has a significant other that his mother openly disapproves of.

The prequel to The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, this movie is charming, entertaining, and lovely. The cast is picture perfect, the imagery is lovely, and the story is perfect. It proves that life does not end when we stop working.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Hotel Mumbai Review

On November 26th, 2008, the eyes of the world were riveted on Mumbai, India.

Terrorists were openly and brazenly killing innocent civilians. When all was said and done, nearly 200 people were killed and another 300 were injured.

The story of that day and more specifically, the terrorist’s focus on the Taj Mahal Palace is told in the new film, Hotel Mumbai.

After terrorists storm the hotel, staff and guests must come together to somehow get out of the hotel alive. Head chef Oberoi (Anupam Kher) and waiter Arjun (Dev Patel) are two of the surviving staff who are simply trying to keep the surviving guests alive. Married couple David (Armie Hammer) and Zahra (Nazanin Boniadi) have to make a tough decision. They can either stay together or split up and find a way to get to their nanny, Sally (Tilda Cobham-Hervey) and infant son.

I have mixed feelings about this film. On one hand, it’s a true and riveting story about human beings who have no choice, but to find a way to work together in the face of life or death circumstances. In this film, it would have been easy to create a 2D carte blanche villain. But the creative team fleshed out the villains in a way that makes them human, even if their actions are despicable. But on the other hand, the film teetered on boring at moments.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

Hotel Mumbai is presently in theaters. 

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