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[personal profile] liv
Reasons for watching it Judi Dench and Maggie Smith, basically. And I'm kind of a sucker for rom-coms about older characters and accessible to European things set in India.

Circumstances of watching it [personal profile] jack and had to wait up late for friends arriving from the airport, so we wanted to do something relaxing and companionable when it was too late in the evening to do anything thinky. So we bought it from a streaming service and snuggled on our little futon in our little TV room / guest bedroom, which is one of the reasons we have that room.

Verdict The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is very sweet if more cringey than I was really hoping.

So The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel has an amazingly strong ensemble cast, and it's based on a Deborah Moggach novel so it's more strongly plotted than many such light comedies might be. The humour is mainly poking fun at English people being idiots about India, rather than too much either laughing at or exoticizing India or Indian people. But still, the context of the film was slightly uncomfortable.

There were some really sweet stories. I liked Norman and Madge being symmetrically promiscuous / lechy, but really wanting to be loved and the way they become friends rather than pairing up. And Tom Wilkinson's retired judge seeking out the love of his life from when he was a young man in colonial India was really touching. Judi Dench was as adorable as ever as a widow learning to be independent as she reevaluates the history of her marriage to a controlling man. And there's a classic little Bollywood-style plot involving the hotel manager standing up to his mother and insisting on choosing his own wife. I didn't really like the plot about the Ainslies finding the cracks in their 40-year marriage; I mean, it's ok that not everybody in the cast gets a happy arc, but that just seemed mean somehow.

The main arc that sort of holds the plot together is Maggie Smith's racist Mrs Donnelly learning that Indians are real people after all and saving the day. Although Smith's acting is as wonderful as it ever is, I found that plotline very difficult to watch. I mean, her doing a very very good impression of a horrible racist is just unpleasant, and ok, she gets her redemption narrative but somehow I don't like the film making an outright racist character sympathetic. I mean, all the characters are kind of genteelly racist, that's part of the point of the film, but especially with Donnelly I wish the plot didn't reward them quite so much for learning to be somewhat less racist.

But in spite of that quibble, it was a very endearing film
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Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

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