There seems to be a trend in recent years, a good one mind you, of making a movie around a cast of older actors. It might have started as far back as films like Waking Ned Devine but films lately like Quartet, Stand Up Guys, the RED films and The Hundred Foot Journey have made older actors bankable again. But one of the biggest hits was 2011’s The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Made on a $10 million budget the film took in over $136 million worldwide. So it was inevitable that this year John Madden made a sequel out this week on Blu-ray and DVD, aptly titled The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.
Sonny (Dev Patel) is enjoying life with his Marigold Hotel at capacity and his relationship with Sunaina (Tina Desai) flourishing. But now he has his sights set on a promising property to expand his business even further. Evelyn and Douglas (Judi Dench and Bill Nighy) now work in Jaipur and are feeling out where there relationship is headed, while Norman and Carol (Ronald Pickup and Diana Hardcastle) are both struggling with the idea of being in an exclusive relationship. And now amongst everything Sonny must try and impress a guest named Guy (Richard Gere) who he believes to be an undercover visitor from the property developer interested in investing. All this and planning Sonny and Sunaina’s wedding make for one crazy time in India.
Pretty much the entire cast from the original movie is back here, as is director John Madden. And the magic has certainly not depleted. It may be near impossible to find a cast more engaging and charming than this one and following these people through their daily lives is thoroughly engrossing, touching, emotional and hilarious. Madden and the cast have a real talent for making their characters seem genuine and flawed and that is what makes them so compelling. It never gets too heavy or too serious, but it still tackles issues that are real and relatable to us viewers. Obviously audiences still connect with these stories, on a similar $10 million budget this film still raked in almost $86 million worldwide. That is the power of great actors. Of any age. The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is definitely worth the visit.