The trailer for The Second Best Marigold Hotel appeared in the cinema out of nowhere and it immediately looked like the kind of film that I would enjoy. The problem was I barely remembered the first film being released in the cinema. Luckily for me the TV and cinema listings aligned and I managed to watch The Best Marigold Hotel a couple of days before seeing the sequel. The Best Marigold Hotel turned out to be an excellent film, filled with British humour, heart and emotion.
The Second Best Marigold Hotel had a lot to live up to.
PLOT: The residents of The Best Marigold Hotel have settled in and are enjoying their time in India and with each other. Meanwhile Sonny’s (Dev Patel) plans to expand his hotel empire hit a snag when the potential investor sends an inspector to evaluate the hotel. END PLOT
On the face of it the plot for The Second Best Marigold Hotel seems flimsy but each character gets their own subplot, some work - Evelyn (Judi Dench) and Douglas’s (Bill Nighy) stuttering attempts to commit to their new relationship and some don’t - Norman (Ronald Pickup) accidently paying a driver to kill his partner Carol (Diana Hardcastle). Despite having such a large cast each character manages to get their fair share of screen time although it will leave you wishing that your favourite had more. In my case it was Maggie Smith.
What makes The Second Best Marigold Hotel work so well is that the likeable characters are played by actors that have been perfectly cast. Judi Dench is ridiculously sweet, Bill Nighy is ridiculously awkward, Maggie Smith is ridiculously badass and Dev Patel is ridiculously enthusiastic although if you find his shtick edging towards annoying in the early part of the film I wouldn’t be able to argue against this.
The Marigold Hotel is still crumbling but the sets are gorgeous and in keeping with the tradition of sequels there is more colour and noise and the film ends with a brilliant dance sequence in which everyone gets involved.
The Second Best Marigold Hotel is at its worst light-hearted escapism but what makes it memorable is the fact that it has plenty of heart and I did find myself tearing up on more than one occasion. It won’t be considered the best film of the year but it is likely to be the one that made me the happiest. It gets 8/10. If we were to stop by the Marigold Hotel every couple of years to check in with the residents I would not be unhappy. Hopefully Ian McKellen will check in.