Friday, November 9, 2012

Blu-ray Review: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel


Release Date: September 18, 2012
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 124 minutes


An award-winning, all-star cast, led by Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson, and Maggie Smith, lights up this "buoyant comedy laced with genuine emotion." (Peter Travers, Rolling Stone) When seven cash-strapped seniors decide to "outsource" their retirement to a resort in far-off India, friendship and romance blossom in the most unexpected ways. Smart, life-affirming and genuinely charming, THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL is a "true classic that reminds us that it's never too late to find love and a fresh beginning at any age." (Rex Reed, The New York Observer)

Every now and then a film like The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel comes along and brightens up my day in a way that I've always wanted but never would have expected to nail just that. The setting, India won me over first. The cast filled with legendary British names excited me even before. The plot was also very intriguing and all of that together creating the tone for this film is what really set me on my way to watching. The tone of this film is just perfect! It's light, it's life, it's what the characters bring to their experiences, past, present, and future that make this a journey worth watching. You never stop learning, never stop doubting, never stop loving and these stories, these characters are perfect examples of such. It's a comedy and a drama.

As a fan of stories that gradually intertwine its characters, it is as if this film was calling my name. I've always wondered what the other people on my hotel floor are in the hotel for. In this film, we get to find out why so many similar and yet completely different walks of life all made a trek to not just any hotel, but a hotel in India. The visual landscape of India was without question gripping but so were these characters and their arcs. The casting was perfect. The pacing, I thought that was going to be an issue but no, it is not. The cast brings to life this screenplay in a way that I don't think would have been as special had it been cast differently and set in a different country. Every aspect of this film is what makes The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel such a heartwarming tale. If you're up for just that, check this film out. You will not be disappointed.

Bonus Features:

Behind the Story: Lights, Colors & Smiles (2 minutes) - This is not a behind the scenes feature, moreso another ad for the film, at two minutes. There's not much to share here, so I would skip it.

Casting Legends (4 minutes) - Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, and Tom Wilkinson among so many others in one film? Why has it taken so long for this to happen?! Boy was it worth the wait. As mentioned in the feature, all of these actors have worked with each other at some point in their careers, so coming together for a film was natural. Balancing such a well known, well respected cast with "newcomers" like Dev Patel was also a choice that I am glad the crew made. Without this balance, I don't think that I would have enjoyed the film as much as I did. All of that said, viewers can come to this same conclusion without watching this feature.

Welcome to the "Real" Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2 minutes) - This feature wasn't long enough which is disappointing considering just how much the setting plays a part in the story being told here. Viewers could have learned more about the work of the design team and even a tour of the hotel... not a two minute overview. Ah well. The next feature slightly makes up for this blunder.

Trekking to India: "Life is Never the Same" (2 minutes) - As mentioned in the feature, India, "It's such a mixture of beauty and poverty." This film captures everything that makes up India in such a natural way. Sights are not attempting to be something they are not, everything is as India is and that is what makes this film so aesthetically pleasing. Not enhancements needed. The cast and crew acknowledging this is part of what makes this film so worth watching. Everything about this film is authentic.

Tuk Tuk Travels (1 minute) - The one feature that takes us on the streets of India while teaching us something and showing us what it was like filming on tuk tuks is only one minute long. All of these features, all less than 5 minutes each are not worth watching but the film is so be sure to get it on DVD (save the Blu-ray difference).

Own The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel on Blu-ray and DVD today.

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