For various different reasons, a group of British senior citizens take a trip to The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel in India. Forced out of their comfort zones and into an alien world of heat, exotic cuisine and new people some embrace the country and see the best in it while others struggle to adapt. With so many changes to cope with, none of their lives will ever be the same again.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011) – Director: John Madden

Is The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel appropriate for kids

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Rating: 12

Running Length: 124 mins

Starring: Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Dev Patel

Genre: Comedy, Drama

REVIEW

Based upon the novel ‘These Foolish Things’ by Deborah Moggach, ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ follows a small group of English people, all of whom have a different story to tell. With various outlooks on life, their lives are forever changed and either the best or worst parts of their personalities are exposed.

From the casually racist Muriel (played by Maggie Smith) to the shy but lovely Evelyn (played by Judi Dench) who is given a new lease of life following the grief she has felt from her husband’s death, we are shown many different viewpoints and can easily understand each person’s motivations. With personal growth being the order of the day, ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ has light-hearted but emotional drama in spades.

With a stellar cast of well-known British stars, this is movie that is very difficult to dislike. With a simple and comforting plot that everyone can relate to, this story of love, loss, friendships and getting out of your comfort zone is funny, poignant and thought-provoking. It isn’t the most hilarious or exciting film you’ll see but it will likely stay with you for many years to come.

IS ‘THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL’ SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?

While some of the characters stereotype people of other races, Muriel makes no secret of her disdain for them. She sees a man with dark skin and says ‘He can wash all he likes, that colour’s not coming out’ and makes various other racist comments throughout the first half of the movie.

A man and woman become friends and they are both very much preoccupied with sex. The female character tells someone that they ‘had to flirt so hard with the travel agent, it was practically phone sex’. The male character starts a relationship with woman which is implied to be sexual, he is later seen alone and fully clothed, reading the Kama Sutra; he lies on his bed and twists his leg in a strange position. The dialogue that these characters use is full of sexual innuendo although it is rarely crude.

One of the male characters is revealed to be gay, he talks of a past relationship he had which made him very happy but he and his partner were caught, which caused his partner to be sent away in disgrace, along with his family.

One of the staff at the hotel is part of the ‘untouchable’ caste in India. She is treated as a second class citizen and can only speak when she is spoken to. This is revealed later in the film but she is not shown to be mistreated in any way.

A young male character has a girlfriend and it is strongly implied that they have a physical relationship. At one point he tells her that he will ‘rent a hotel room’ for them and she tells him that she ‘can wake him up in that special way’. Later in the movie, she sneaks into his bed resulting in a comedy of errors due to someone else being in the bed. This mistake then leads to a lot of sexualised, comedic dialogue between several characters, including the male character telling another that ‘she was here to have sex with me!’ and someone else calling it a ‘midnight booty call’.

CAN I SEE A CLIP?

VERDICT

With plenty of gentle comedy and a host of well-known faces, ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ was always going to be a hit but with plenty of innuendo and lack of exciting action or laugh out loud comedy, and with adult themes of aging and life passing, we feel this movie is most appropriate for kids aged 10 and over.

  • Violence: 0/5
  • Emotional Distress: 2/5 (a character dies and while their friends are sad at his passing, the emotional distress is kept to a minimum. Some of the dialogue refers to past heartbreak for several characters which is quite sad)
  • Fear Factor: 0/5
  • Sexual Content: 4/5 (a lot of sexualised dialogue and implications of physical intimacy)  
  • Bad Language: 2/5 (infrequent cursing and blasphemy. One strong word is used towards the end)
  • Dialogue: 3/5 (some racism/xenophobia although this doesn’t become extreme and the characters using this language learn valuable lessons about the people they are criticising)  
  • Other notes: Deals with themes of new friendships and relationships, finding solace in someone else’s company, getting out of your comfort zone, realising that another life may be better for you, standing up for yourself and accepting change.

Words by Laura Record

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