What it's about:
The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is Sonny’s expansionist dream, and it’s making more claims on his time than he has available, considering his imminent marriage to the love of his life, Sunaina. Sonny has his eye on a promising property now that his first venture, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for the Elderly and Beautiful, has only a single remaining vacancy - posing a rooming predicament for fresh arrivals Guy and Lavinia. Evelyn and Douglas have now joined the Jaipur workforce, and are wondering where their regular dates for Chilla pancakes will lead, while Norman and Caro are negotiating the tricky waters of an exclusive relationship, and Madge juggles two eligible and very wealthy suitors.
Perhaps the only one who may know the answers is newly installed co-manager of the hotel, Muriel, the keeper of everyone’s secrets. As the demands of a traditional Indian wedding threaten to engulf them all, an unexpected way forward presents itself.
What we thought:
If you loved the first movie, it’s pretty hard to be objective when it comes to a sequel.
While I’m not necessarily the target market for both the films I was truly captivated by the film the first time around, mostly because I have this love affair with India (bucket list dream), so naturally I was very excited about the sequel.
For those who haven’t seen the first one, British pensioners outsource their retirement to India. They take up residence in an old, somewhat dilapidated hotel run by Sonny (Dev Patel), an over-eager entrepreneur with a big dream.
The Second Best Marigold Hotel sees Sonny expanding on this dream of his. The movie starts out with Sonny and his partner and resident Muriel Donnelly (Maggie Smith) in America speaking to investors.
Back at the hotel we get an update on the entire crew who have created new lives for themselves in India.
The story is told in three parts through the three ceremonies that Sonny and Sunaina (Tina Desai) have for their wedding.
Running parallel to their story are the subplots involving all the other characters surrounding employment and romance. The insecurities that they experience as elders are not much different than those at any other age.
There is also a mysterious new comer, Guy Chambers (Richard Gere), who instantly takes a liking to Sonny’s mom.
There’s a lot going on in this film and a lot of the story telling feels a bit rushed.
The superb ensemble cast cannot be faulted on their performances. Maggie Smith’s crass but lovable character is the star of the show, she can do no wrong!
Besides the drama, comedy and romance there is also a serious element: that of mortality. It’s a central theme to the story, every morning Sonny does a role call to check that someone has not died during the night.
And it is this that makes the story applicable to everyone; mortality is not linked to age. It is never too late to take another chance, to try something new and to live as many lives as possible in the time that we have.
The Second Best Marigold Hotel might have its faults but it is full of heart and spirit. If you’re in the mood for some inspiration in an exotic location go watch this movie!