The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

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The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
The-best-exotic-marigold-hotel.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJohn Madden
Produced byGraham Broadbent
Peter Czernin
Screenplay byOl Parker
Based onThese Foolish Things 
by Deborah Moggach
StarringJudi Dench
Bill Nighy
Penelope Wilton
Dev Patel
Celia Imrie
Ronald Pickup
Tom Wilkinson
Maggie Smith
Music byThomas Newman
CinematographyBen Davis
Editing byChris Gill
StudioParticipant Media
Imagenation Abu Dhabi FZ
Blueprint Pictures
Distributed byFox Searchlight Pictures
Release dates
  • 30 November 2011 (2011-11-30) (SIIdC)
  • 24 February 2012 (2012-02-24) (United Kingdom)
Running time124 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
LanguageEnglish
BudgetUS$10 million[1]
Box officeUS$136,836,156[1]
 
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The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
The-best-exotic-marigold-hotel.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJohn Madden
Produced byGraham Broadbent
Peter Czernin
Screenplay byOl Parker
Based onThese Foolish Things 
by Deborah Moggach
StarringJudi Dench
Bill Nighy
Penelope Wilton
Dev Patel
Celia Imrie
Ronald Pickup
Tom Wilkinson
Maggie Smith
Music byThomas Newman
CinematographyBen Davis
Editing byChris Gill
StudioParticipant Media
Imagenation Abu Dhabi FZ
Blueprint Pictures
Distributed byFox Searchlight Pictures
Release dates
  • 30 November 2011 (2011-11-30) (SIIdC)
  • 24 February 2012 (2012-02-24) (United Kingdom)
Running time124 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
LanguageEnglish
BudgetUS$10 million[1]
Box officeUS$136,836,156[1]

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (full title The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for the Elderly & Beautiful) is a 2012 British comedy-drama film, directed by John Madden. The screenplay, written by Ol Parker, was based on the 2004 novel These Foolish Things, by Deborah Moggach, and features an ensemble cast consisting of Judi Dench, Celia Imrie, Bill Nighy, Ronald Pickup, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson and Penelope Wilton, as a group of British pensioners moving to a retirement hotel in India, run by the young and eager Sonny, played by Dev Patel. The movie was produced by Participant Media and Blueprint Pictures on a budget of US$10 million.

Producers Graham Broadbent and Peter Czernin first saw the potential for a film in Deborah Moggach's novel with the idea of exploiting the lives of the elderly beyond what one would expect of their age group. With the assistance of screenwriter Ol Parker, they came up with a script in which they take the older characters completely out of their element and involve them in romantic comedy. Principal photography began on 10 October 2010 in India, with most of the filming took place in the Indian state of Rajasthan, including the cities of Jaipur and Udaipur. Ravla Khempur, an equestrian hotel in the village of Khempur which was originally the palace of a tribal chieftain, was chosen as the site for the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

The film was released in the United Kingdom on 24 February 2012 and received critical acclaim; The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel opened to strong box-office business in the United Kingdom and continued to build worldwide. It became a surprise box-office hit following its international release, eventually grossing nearly US$137 million worldwide, mostly from its domestic run. It was ranked among the highest-grossing 2012 releases in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, and as one the highest-grossing specialty releases of the year. A sequel, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel 2, was scheduled to begin production in India in January 2014, and will see a return of most of the cast.

Plot[edit]

Recently widowed housewife Evelyn (Judi Dench) must sell her home to cover huge debts left by her late husband. Graham (Tom Wilkinson), a high-court judge who had spent his first eighteen years in India, abruptly decides to retire and return there. Jean (Penelope Wilton) and Douglas (Bill Nighy) seek a retirement they can afford, having lost most of their savings through investing in their daughter's internet business. Muriel (Maggie Smith), a retired housekeeper prejudiced against Indians and every other person of colour under the sun, needs a hip replacement operation which can be done far more quickly and inexpensively in India. Madge (Celia Imrie) is hunting for another husband, and Norman (Ronald Pickup), an aging lothario, is trying to re-capture his youth. They each decide on a retirement hotel in India, based on pictures on its website.

When the group finally arrives at the picturesque hotel, despite its energetic young manager Sonny (Dev Patel), the hotel is very dilapidated. Jean remains ensconced in the hotel, while her husband Douglas explores the sights. Graham, finding that the area has greatly changed since his youth, disappears on long outings every day. Muriel, despite her xenophobia, starts to appreciate her doctor for his skill and the hotel maid for her good service. Evelyn gets a job advising the staff of a call centre how to interact with older British customers. Sonny struggles to raise funds to renovate the hotel and sees girlfriend, Sunaina (Tena Desae), despite his mother's disapproval. Madge joins the Viceroy Club seeking a spouse, and is surprised to find Norman there. She introduces him to Carol (Diana Hardcastle). He admits he is lonely and seeking a companion, and the two begin an affair.

Graham confides in Evelyn that he is trying to find the Indian lover he was forced to abandon as a youth. Social-climber Jean is attracted to Graham, and makes a rare excursion to follow him, but is humiliated when he explains he is gay. Graham reunites with his former lover, who is in an arranged marriage of mutual trust and respect, but soon dies of a heart condition. Evelyn and Douglas grow increasingly close, angering his wife, which results in an outburst from Douglas, denouncing this marriage. Muriel reveals that she was once housekeeper to a family who had her train her younger replacement and now she feels that she has lost purpose in her life. Sonny's more successful brothers each own a third of the hotel, and plan to demolish it. His mother (Lillete Dubey) agrees and wants him to return to Delhi for an arranged marriage. Jean and Douglas prepare to return to England. Now that the hotel is closing, Madge prepares to return to England and Norman agrees to move in with Carol. Madge, after encouragement from Carol and Muriel, decides to keep searching for another husband.

Sonny, encouraged by Evelyn, finally tells Sunaina that he loves her and confronts his mother, who first forbids the match but then is persuaded by the old man and she finally gives the couple her blessing. She asks Sunaina to take good care of her "favourite son". Before the remaining guests can leave, Muriel reveals that the hotel can make a profit and that Sonny's investor has agreed to fund his plans as long as Muriel stays on as assistant manager. All the guests agree to stay. Due to their daughter's long-awaited success Jean and Douglas decide to return home but on the way to the airport their taxi gets caught in a traffic jam and a rickshaw driver says that he can only take one of them. Jean sees it as a sign that it is time to split with Douglas and bids him farewell and departs. He winds up at the wrong hotel and spends the rest of the night wandering the streets. He returns to the hotel just as Evelyn is leaving for work, and asks when she'll be back. A closing montage with a voiceover shows Muriel checking in customers in an elegant renovated lobby, Madge dining with a handsome older Indian man, and Norman and Carol living happily together. Sonny and Sunaina are shown riding a motorbike and passing Douglas and Evelyn on another bike.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Background and script[edit]

A production outfit was secured in Participant Media.

Producers Graham Broadbent and Peter Czernin first saw the potential for a film in Deborah Moggach's novel. The concept of outsourcing retirement, "taking our outsourcing of everyday tasks like banking and customer service one step further", appealed to them, and they commissioned screenwriter Ol Parker to formulate this concept into a screenplay.[3] Parker wanted to take the older characters completely out of their element and involve them in romantic comedy. They initially encountered difficulties finding a studio; Working Title Films rejected their proposals, considering it unmarketable,[4] but they eventually aligned with Participant Media, Imagenation Abu Dhabi FZ, and Blueprint Pictures.[2]

Casting[edit]

Some of the footage of the film was shot around the City Palace of Jaipur.

To helm the project, the producers Broadbent and Czernin approached John Madden, who won the Academy Award for Shakespeare in Love in 1998. Madden considered the characters in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel to be of "an analogous kind of geographical suspension", which have "entered a strange world removed from their former reality, cut off from their past, where they have to invent a new life for themselves".[3] Dench and fellow cast members Maggie Smith, Penelope Wilton, Celia Imrie, Bill Nighy, Ronald Pickup, Tom Wilkinson and, director John Madden jumped at the opportunity to all work together for the first time in one film. Producer Broadbent considers Dench's character to be central to the story, and that Evelyn is much like Dench herself, being "the most wonderfully sympathetic person". John Madden considers Maggie Smith's character Muriel to be "instinctively xenophobic, never stepping out of her comfort zone in any way", which is not uncommon in England.[5]

The filmmakers determined early on that the role of Sonny was crucial to the outcome of the picture, and they selected Dev Patel, who at the time was still reveling in the success of Slumdog Millionaire. Dench described Patel as a "born comedian", and Madden considered him to be a "comic natural - a sort of Jacques Tati figure, with amazing physical presence and fantastic instincts".[6] Patel had personal experience of watching the elderly through his mother who had been a carer, and he was "enticed by how vivid these characters are, by their sarcasm and their wisdom", confessing that he "fell in love with the script because every character shines in his or her own different way and you believe in each of them."[6] Lilette Dubey was cast as Sonny's mother, and English language-debutante Tena Desae portrayed Sunaina, Sonny's call centre operator girlfriend.

Filming[edit]

Footage was also shot in and around Amer Fort.
A culminating scene was shot at the insular Lake Palace Hotel on Lake Pichola.

Principal photography began on 10 October 2010 in India.[7] Most of the filming took place in the Indian state of Rajasthan, including the cities of Jaipur and Udaipur.[8] In Jaipur, filming took place around the City Palace, the Marigold market, and on crowded buses. Other scenes were shot in Kishangarh, and on the outskirts of Jaipur, footage was shot at Kanota Fort which stood in for the Viceroy Club. The place where Sonny and Sunaina meet in the film was shot nearby at the Step Well near Amer Fort, a 10th-century establishment noted for its "ten stories of pale golden stone steps."[9] Ravla Khempur, an equestrian hotel which was originally the palace of a tribal chieftain, about an hour and a half outside of Udaipur in the village of Khempur, was chosen as the site for the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.[8] Madden considered the building to have a magical quality and unmistakable charm, remarking that it had "something special that could ultimately draw the characters in. It had these wonderful cool dark interiors, with glimpses of saturated light and the teeming life outside its walls."[9] Production designer Alan MacDonald, who won Best Art Direction in a Contemporary Film from the Art Directors Guild for his work,[10] was brought in to further embellish the interiors, intentionally making it clash with "interesting furniture inspired by colonial India, mismatched local textiles, all mixed together with modern plastic bits and pieces, with everything distressed and weather beaten."[9] Footage was also shot at the Lake Palace Hotel at Lake Pichola.[8]

Madden cited the noise as well as the people's curiosity and hospitality upon producing a camera anywhere among the challenges of filming in India.[8] The cast and crew were well received by the locals, as was the director who, along with the cast, was invited by Arvind Singh Mewar, the Maharaja of Udaipur, to attend his lavish Diwali celebrations and firework display, and additionally attend a royal wedding held at the Rambagh Palace Hotel.[9] Chris Gill was the editor of the picture.[11]

A sequel, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel 2, was scheduled to begin production in India in January 2014, and will see a return of most of the cast, and others, including American actor Richard Gere.[12][13]

Soundtrack[edit]

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (Music from the Motion Picture)
Soundtrack album by various artists
Released2012
GenreSoundtrack
Length46:42
LabelSony Classical

The soundtrack, composed by Thomas Newman, was released in the CD format in 2012.[14] The soundtrack is additionally available on Amazon.com and Itunes.[15]

Release[edit]

Marquee showing The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel at a cinema in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.

The film was first shown at the Italian cinema trade show Le Giornate Professionali di Cinema ("The Professional Days of Cinema") in Sorrento on 30 November 2011[16] and at the Glasgow Film Festival on 17 February 2012, before being released widely in the United Kingdom and Ireland on 24 February 2012. This was followed by release in a further 26 countries in March and April.[citation needed]

In the United Kingdom, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel came in second to The Woman in Black at the box office in its first week, earning £2.2 million.[17] It eventually topped the UK box office with £2.3 million in its second weekend on release.[18] By the end of its UK run, the film had grossed around US$31 million.[19] Prior to its United States debut, the comedy had already grossed US$69 million worldwide and passed both The Queen (2006) and Calendar Girls (2003) in total international grosses.[19][20] After three months of release, it was ranked the third highest-grossing 2012 release in Australia and New Zealand behind only The Avengers and The Hunger Games and fourth-highest-grossing 2012 title in the UK.[20]

In the United States, the film initially opened in 16 theaters in its first week. In its second week of release, it expanded from 16 to 178 screens in North America and grossed US$2.7 million for the weekend, ending eighth on the week's top hits.[21] By the end of the month, Best Exotic Marigold Hotel had grossed US$100 million worldwide.[20] The film had a worldwide gross of US$136,836,156.[1] It ranks among the highest-grossing international films released by Fox Searchlight Pictures behind Black Swan (2010), The Full Monty (1997), and The Descendants (2011),[20] and among the highest-grossing specialty releases of the year along with Moonrise Kingdom and To Rome with Love.[22]

Elsewhere, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel took in less that 58 million USD. Nations contributing sizable box office returns aside from the UK and the US included Australia (21.2 million USD), Germany (6 million USD), New Zealand (4.4 million USD), Spain (4.3 million USD), France (1.9 million USD), Sweden (1.3 million USD), Italy (1.1 million USD), South Africa (1 million USD), and Norway (797 thousand USD).[23]

Reception[edit]

The film has received positive reviews by critics. The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported that 78% of critics gave the film a positive rating, based on 149 reviews, with an average score of 6.6/10. Its consensus states "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel isn't groundbreaking storytelling, but it's a sweet story about the senior set featuring a top-notch cast of veteran actors."[24] On Metacritic, which uses a normalized rating system, the film holds a 62/100 rating, based on 35 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[25]

Dench and Smith both received favourable reviews by critics.

Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle remarked that the film was "a rare reminder from movies that the grand emotions are not only for the young and the middle-aged", citing it "too well made to be dismissed and contains too much truth to be scorned."[26] Roger Ebert, writing for the Chicago Sun-Times gave The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel three and a half out of four stars. He declared the film "a charming, funny and heartwarming movie [and] a smoothly crafted entertainment that makes good use of seven superb veterans."[27] Claudia Puig from USA Today called it "a refreshing, mature fairy tale with a top-notch ensemble cast." While she felt the film was "about 15 minutes too long", she summarized it as "a delightful, droll and entertaining comedy of manners with an estimable cast" and an "ideal low-tech alternative to the special-effects laden" film projects of 2012.[28]

Peter Travers from Rolling Stone rated the comedy three out of four stars. He found that "with a lesser cast, the movie would be a lineup of TV-movie clichés. But this is a cast that never makes a false move even when the script settles for formula."[29] Chicago Tribune critic Michael Phillips wrote that "as two-hour tours go, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel goes smoothly." While he felt that the film focused on "pleasantly predictable story", he noted that the project was one of those films which "are better off concentrating on a reassuring level of actorly craft [than] going easy on the surprises."[30]

Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly graded the film with a 'B–' rating, summarizing it as a "lulling, happy-face story of retirement-age self-renewal, set in a shimmering, weltering, jewel-colored India", and that it succeeded in selling "something safe and sweet, in a vivid foreign setting, to an underserved share of the moviegoing market."[31] Peter Bradshaw, writing for The Guardian was more igneous in his 2/5 star review, saying that the film "needs a Stannah chairlift to get it up to any level of watchability, and it is not exactly concerned to do away with condescending stereotypes about old people, or Indian people of any age." Noting the luminous, prolific resumes of the cast he noted "nothing in this insipid story does anything like justice to the cast's combined potential." He went on to opine that the film appeared "oddly like an Agatha Christie thriller with all the pasteboard characters, 2D backstories and foreign locale, but no murder."[32]

Accolades[edit]

At the Cinema Scapes Awards, organised on the sidelines of the 2012 Mumbai Film Festival, the film was honoured with the Best International Film accolade for showcasing Indian filming locations.[33] The film and its cast earned five nominations from the British Independent Film Awards.[34]

AwardCategoryRecipient(s)Result
ADG Excellence in Production Design AwardsContemporary FilmAlan MacDonaldNominated
ALFS AwardsActress of the YearJudi DenchNominated
British Academy Film AwardsBAFTA Award for Outstanding British FilmJohn MaddenNominated
British Independent Film AwardsBest British Independent FilmGraham Broadbent, Peter CzerninNominated
Best Director of a British Independent FilmJohn MaddenNominated
Best Performance by an Actress in a British Independent FilmJudi DenchNominated
Best Supporting ActorTom WilkinsonNominated
Best Supporting ActressMaggie SmithNominated
Critics' Choice AwardsBest CastEnsembleNominated
Costume Designers Guild AwardsExcellence in Contemporary FilmLouise StjernswardNominated
European Film AwardsAudience AwardJohn MaddenNominated
GLAAD Media AwardsOutstanding Film – Wide ReleaseNominated
Golden Globe AwardGolden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or ComedyFilmNominated
Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or ComedyJudi DenchNominated
Screen Actors Guild AwardOutstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion PictureCastNominated
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting RoleMaggie SmithNominated
Women Film Critics Circle AwardsBest Comedic ActressMaggie SmithWon
Women's Work: Best EnsembleMaggie Smith, Judi Dench, Penelope Wilton and Celia ImrieWon

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2012)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 8 October 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r "IMDB Page". imdb.com. IMDB. Retrieved 17 February 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "Exotic Marigold Hotel". Cinema Review. Retrieved 17 February 2014. 
  4. ^ Jupp, Emily (5 October 2012). "Delayed Diagnosis: The persistence of hope". The Independent. Retrieved 30 October 2012. 
  5. ^ "The Residents". Cinema Review. Retrieved 17 February 2014. 
  6. ^ a b "The Management". Cinema Review. Retrieved 17 February 2014. 
  7. ^ "John Madden to Direct All Star Cast with Dame Judi Dench". Movie City News. 6 October 2010. Retrieved 30 October 2012. 
  8. ^ a b c d Duecy, Erica (30 April 2012). "On Location in India with The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel". Fodors. Retrieved 10 October 2012. 
  9. ^ a b c d "The Sights". Cinema Review. Retrieved 17 February 2014. 
  10. ^ "Alan MacDonald". Artistdirect.com. Retrieved 19 February 2014. 
  11. ^ NY Times BEMH Review "Seven Tickets to India, Please, and Reservations for an Adventure". The New York Times. 4 May 2012. Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  12. ^ Dowell, Ben (28 October 2013). "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel 2 to start filming in January". RadioTimes. Retrieved 12 January 2014. 
  13. ^ "Richard Gere joins Best Exotic Marigold Hotel sequel". BBC. 10 January 2014. Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  14. ^ "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel". AllMusic.com. Retrieved 6 March 2014. 
  15. ^ "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (Music from the Motion Picture) by Thomas Newman". Itunes. Retrieved 6 March 2014. 
  16. ^ "Le Giornate Professionali di Cinema: Programma 30 novembre". Retrieved 28 May 2012.
  17. ^ "UK Box Office – 28 February 2012". Digital Cinema Media. 28 February 2012. Retrieved 30 October 2012. 
  18. ^ "UK Box Office – 06 March 2012". Digital Cinema Media. 6 March 2012. Retrieved 30 October 2012. 
  19. ^ a b Gritten, David (2 May 2012). "'Best Exotic Marigold Hotel': From Pleasant Surprise to Box Office Phenomenon". Indiewire. Retrieved 30 October 2012. 
  20. ^ a b c d "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel Crosses $100 Million". ComingSoon.net. 31 May 2012. Retrieved 30 October 2012. 
  21. ^ "Best Exotic Marigold Hotel Already a Hit?". Rediff.com. 15 May 2012. Retrieved 30 October 2012. 
  22. ^ Knegt, Peter (23 July 2012). "Specialty Box Office: 'Queen' Reigns For Indie Debuts; LCD Soundsystem Doc Has Great 'One Night Only'". Indiewire. Retrieved 30 October 2012. 
  23. ^ "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  24. ^ "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2012)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 30 October 2012. 
  25. ^ The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel at Metacritic
  26. ^ LaSalle, Mick (4 May 2012). "'Best Exotic Marigold Hotel' review: Aging's truth". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 30 October 2012. 
  27. ^ Ebert, Roger (2 May 2012). "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel". Chicago Sun-Times. RogertEbert.com. Retrieved 30 October 2012. 
  28. ^ Puig, Claudia (3 May 2012). "'Exotic Marigold Hotel' lets senior citizens bloom". USA Today. Retrieved 30 October 2012. 
  29. ^ Travers, Peter (3 May 2012). "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 30 October 2012. 
  30. ^ Phillips, Michael (3 May 2012). "Cast Makes 'Best Exotic Marigold Hotel' Shine". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 30 October 2012. 
  31. ^ Schwarzbaum, Lisa (3 May 2012). "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2012)". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 30 October 2012. 
  32. ^ The Guardian review "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel". The Guardian. 23 February 2012. Retrieved 17 February 2014. 
  33. ^ Bhushan, Nyay (26 October 2012). "'Best Exotic Marigold Hotel' Honored for Showcasing India Filming Locations". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 30 October 2012. 
  34. ^ Reynolds, Simon (5 November 2012). "'Broken', 'Sightseers', 'Berberian Sound Studio' lead BIFA nominations". Digital Spy. Retrieved 6 November 2012. 

External links[edit]