“The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” is an equally entertaining sequel to the first film of the same enterprise. Like the “First Exotic Marigold Hotel” which gained much acclaim in 2011, “The Second” features Judy Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy and a few other British character actors, all of whom have chosen to retire in this hotel in Jaipur, India. Their relationships with one another and their adventures in India create the vignettes in this ensemble film.
But the story holding all the vignettes together is the impending wedding of Sonny (Dev Patel), the hotel owner and manager, and his fiancée and assistant, Sunaina (Tina Desai). Sonny is a young man with big dreams and clever with the quick mis-turn of a phrase. Sonny’s mother, played by Lillette Dubey, is a calming influence in his life and, in this film, a love interest for a new arrival, Guy Chambers, played by Richard Gere. Sonny’s exuberance for acquiring a second hotel and his deep respect and admiration for his “elderly” residents win over his guests as well as us.
Movie psoter for ‘The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.’ Courtesy/Reel Deal Theater
Less background is given in this film on each of the characters than you get in the first, so having seen “The First Exotic Marigold Hotel” might help knowing who these people are. But, if you haven’t seen the first, you will catch on.
This sequel is a funny and sweet movie with a very clever script. Smith and Dench, for example, have a few scenes together trading quips about aging. The script has the main Indian characters often turning an idiom inside out, adding to the gentle humor. But then, “there’s no present like the time,” is there?
This reviewer highly recommends The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (rated PG) to those who have a sense of humor about aging and a belief in second (and third…) chances in life. After all, it isn’t how many years one has, but what one chooses to do with the years one is given.