SECOND BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL, starring all those wonderful people


If you are a fan of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, run, don’t walk to your nearest theater to see The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. If you are not yet a fan, you need to see the first one first, because it’s all one story. Second Best won’t make as much sense as it should–nor will you understand the setting and characters as you must–if you haven’t seen the original.

Speaking of the story: A couple of years ago, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for the Elderly and Beautiful opened in Jaipur, India. Seven intrepid seniors journeyed there from the U.K. to set up home in Sonny Kapoor’s hotel. Five of them are still there, settled in India and personally invested in the culture and community.

The hotel is prospering, and Sonny is convinced the time has come to expand to another property. He needs financing, and his search for capital leads him all the way to California.

Back in India, romance abounds. Sonny and Sunaina are engaged and planning an elaborate Indian wedding. Evelyn and Douglas are making timid, tentative steps around the possibility of maybe perhaps someday. Madge can’t make up her mind between suitors, Norman and Carol aren’t sure what is happening, and even Jean returns from London with a racy story. Who knew there could be such drama after 65?

Enter Richard Gere. More drama.

I am 54, so I don’t know if I love this story because it is a wonderful story, or because I’m old enough that the idea of retiring to such a place is increasingly inviting. I love the idea of starting all the way over after retirement to such a different (if ridiculously hot) culture. Of course, if the Third Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is in Fiji, I’m all in.

That being said, maybe if you are young enough that the idea of your grandparents falling in love makes you feel you are covered with cooties, don’t bother with this, but I’ll definitely be seeing it again.