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The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel Review


In Hollywood, numbers don't lie. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was an unexpected smash hit, on both sides of the globe. A sweet, but not overly sentimental tale about a group of affable retirees struck a chord with audiences, and unexpectedly so it would seem, as the story didn't end with any indication of more of the tale to tell.

However, when the numbers came in, a sequel became more of an inevitably than an artistic choice, so it's a breath of fresh air to report that The Second Best Exotic Hotel isn't the simple cash-in it could so easily have been. Following on from the events of the last movie, the roguish group of pensioners have settled down in Jaipur, and are on a mission to help the manager of their retirement hotel, Sonny, prepare for his impending wedding and expand his business. 

The film carries a hefty running time given there isn't much substance to the plot, and the sheer number of talented cast members means that at times it gets bogged down with trying to do everyone's character arc justice. To it's credit though, it never loses sight of what made the story so relatable to audiences. 

With director John Madden and screenwriter Ol Parker both returning and reuniting the cast from the first movie, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel carries the same spirit of positivity and infectious charm that resonated from it's predecessor. Thanks largely to some clever writing, it makes use of the age of it's characters to offer a perspective on relationships, on love, on sex, and on death that feels previously unexplored and more honest than the sub-par romcoms churned out by Hollywood each year. Drenched in sharp wit and charm, the movie works because of the chemistry between all involved. 

The addition of Richard Gere to proceedings proves a shrewd move, and he adds a spark to the story that should see this one replicate the success of the first movie. Although it's far from perfect, the film consistently hits the right notes, and at it's best is breathtakingly beautiful as full use is made of the movie's setting and the local culture. The predictable plot turns and formulaic structure aren't so much a disappointment as they are a minor distraction. 

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is effortlessly enjoyable, and despite a heavier dose of sentiment, remains accessible to all age groups. For a sequel that no one really expected, nor truthfully needed, its pleasing to see that it's not simply a by-the-numbers affair. 

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The Movie Bit: The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel Review
The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel Review
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