The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
After thoroughly enjoying The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, I was definitely prepared to be disappointed by The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (the name even seems like a warning).
With his first hotel almost full, Sonny (Dev Patel) has dreams of expanding into a second hotel which are consuming too much of his time and thoughts with his wedding to Sunaina (Tina Desai) just around the corner. Evelyn and Douglas (Judi Dench and Bill Nighy) have now joined the Jaipur workforce, and are wondering where their regular dates will lead, while Norman and Carol (Ronald Pickup and Diana Hardcastle) are negotiating the tricky waters of an exclusive relationship, as Madge (Celia Imrie) juggles two eligible and very wealthy suitors.
Having the full cast return for the sequel as well as the addition of Richard Gere and Tamara Drewe made it feel like a natural progression from the first film. It didn’t feel forced like many sequels tend to and most of the character progression was interesting and relatable. It almost felt like I’d stepped out for an intermission within one very long Exotic Marigold Hotel movie.
The character development of Sonny, the over-enthusiastic hotel owner, made me want to slam my head into the chair in front of me. In the first movie his intense personality was humorous and charming in the context of a young man with a big dream. In the second his personality became ridiculous and frustrating. His stupidity knew no bounds and every time the story arch came back to him and his self-created drama I felt my joy drain away little by little.
Luckily the movie has plenty of other quality characters to become engrossed with. Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, Judi Dench and Celia Imrie definitely gave the standout performances and even though the relationships seemed a little contrived at times, it was impossible not to get caught up in the charmingness of it all.
If you enjoyed the first film, definitely consider seeing The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. For the most part (the parts without Sonny), it’s a fun, feel-good film.