2ndbestexoticMH Love And A Motorbike
The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Stars: Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Dev Patel, Bill Nighy, Celia Imrie, Penelope Wilson, Tena Desae, Lillete Dubrey, Ronald Pickup, Diana Hardcastle and Richard Gere
Director: John Madden
Scriptwriter: Ol Parker
Composer: Thomas Newman
Cinematography: Ben Smithard
Fox Searchlight
Rating: PG with some suggestive comments
Running Length: 123 minutes
There are film fans (and you know who you are) who waited for the sequel to “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” of two years ago. Considered a “small” film, it opened without fanfare and by word of mouth, became a movie favorite. In my region, the film played in movie theaters for months. Basic story being of British retiree’s moving to India for a vacation and ending up staying on and on in an older hotel and, for some, finding the family they wish they had. India is shown in its beauty and the actors made the best of the script. Enter, film two with the upcoming marriage of the hotel owner, Sonny (Dev Patel whose feet never stop dancing) to the beautiful Sunaina (Tena Desae). Ben Smithard’s cinematography of India and the dazzling colors is compelling and Thomas Newman’s soundtrack will have the audience feet tapping time (think Bollywood, here).
The story begins with Sonny and Muriel (Maggie Smith) visiting America in hopes of getting a loan to purchase a second hotel. Sonny’s driving would put NASCAR on alert. It seems no one leaves the first Marigold Hotel and Sonny would like increased income because of the upcoming marriage. Alas, they are turned down and thus begins the saga of trying to purchase a second hotel, then finding a competitor (Sonny’s fiancee’s former beau) interested in the hotel, in-laws who don't  always get along and Sonny just trying to be his own person and make his own corporate decisions. Along with this is the budding romance between Evelyn (Judi Dench) and Douglas (Bill Nighy), and Sonny’s widowed mother and the always debonair, Guy (Richard Gere.) Guy is mistaken for a hotel inspector and can't figure out why he is getting royal treatment. There is an unexpected guest, Jean (Penelope Wilton from “Downton Abbey”), Norman (Ronald Pickup) is his usual scheming self and Muriel sits on the sidelines with comments (as does The Dowager in “Downton Abbey.”) It is interesting to see this unfold before you, as the story tells you there is life before age 25 and life way, way after age 25.
As for acting, just give the stars a script and away they go. India skylines, market places, motorbike rides and any excuse to dance, are the background for dialogue which doesn't last long.  Just enough to clue you into what is going on with certain people and then away we go. Interwoven with Dev Patel’s hyper-activity about everything (think a young Robin Williams here) and the comments by Maggie Smith, there is a unexpected, quiet, budding romance going on and you start to figure this out and start to follow it. Bill Nighy is the man who can play a spy on PBS Mysteries and a man bumbling opportunities to ask for a date. Tena Dasae as the smiling Sunaina is a delight and how she handles situations is a diplomat in action. 
All in all, “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” has the best soundtrack so far in 2015 and may have people booking vacations to India. The monsoon rains aren't shown, though. As a sequel to the first film, this one, also,  is a continued story of love, friendship and the feeling of worth, no matter the age.
Copyright 2015 Marie Asner
For a review of the first film, “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” see the following:
(rated PG 13 for themed material)