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Movie Review

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel 2 also known as “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel 2,” “El nuevo exótico hotel Marigold,” “Hotell Marigold 2,” “O Segundo Exótico Hotel Marigold,” “Ritorno al Marigold Hotel”

MPAA Rating: PG for some language and suggestive comments.

Reviewed by: Curtis McParland
CONTRIBUTOR

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Romance Comedy Drama Sequel
Length:
2 hr. 2 min.
Year of Release:
2015
USA Release:
March 6, 2015 (wide—1,400+ theaters)
DVD: July 14, 2015
Copyright, Fox Searchlight Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Fox Searchlight Pictures Copyright, Fox Searchlight Pictures Copyright, Fox Searchlight Pictures Copyright, Fox Searchlight Pictures Copyright, Fox Searchlight Pictures Copyright, Fox Searchlight Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Fox Searchlight Pictures

retirement age

marriage

demands of a traditional Indian weddings

keeping secrets

Copyright, Fox Searchlight Pictures

PURITY—Should I save sex for marriage? Answer

marriage in the Bible

Is formalized marriage becoming obsolete? Answer
Some people are convinced that traditional marriages don’t work and that this practice should be abandoned. What does the Bible say about marriage?

TRUE LOVE—What is true love and how do you know when you have found it? Answer

fornication in the Bible

TEMPTATIONS—How can I deal with temptations? Answer

CONSEQUENCES—What are the consequences of sexual immorality? Answer

Sex, Love and Relationships
Learn how to make your love the best it can be. Christian answers to questions about sex, marriage, sexual addictions, and more. Valuable resources for Christian couples, singles and pastors.
Featuring: Judi DenchEvelyn Greenslade
Maggie Smith … Muriel Donnelly
Richard GereGuy
Bill NighyDouglas Ainslie
David StrathairnTy Burley
Dev Patel … Sonny Kapoor
Penelope Wilton … Jean Ainslie
more »
Director: John Madden—“The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” (2011), “The Debt” (2010), “Shakespeare in Love” (1998)
Producer: Blueprint Pictures
Participant Media
Distributor: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Prequel: “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” (2011)

Romance returns in the second chapter of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel story. But this time around, the owners want to take a step forward and acquire an additional hotel. However, it becomes a complicated process, since the future Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel needs a lot of work, and they just don’t have the money yet.

This causes a stressful time for soon to be married Sonny Kapoor (Dev Patel), though, since he not only has his own wedding to worry about but also an unknown hotel inspector visiting to evaluate the new hotel project. A good handful of the originals from the first film return, including Judi Dench as Evelyn Greenslade, Bill Nighy as Douglas Ainslie, and Maggie Smith as Muriel Donnelly. Sonny’s predicament is not the only story happening in this two hour romantic comedy. Love affairs, crumbling relationships, and tough life decisions are just a handful of the many mini subplots that merge together in “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”.

The second film in this popular franchise does not fall short of romantic and dramatic storytelling. However, although the story flows quite smoothly from beginning to end, I found some of the dialog rather dull, at times, and unengaging. The subplots are interwoven well and come together nicely in the end. But the film drags from time to time, as we continuously jump back and forth amongst stories. However, this film is filled with beautiful landscape shots of India, and the overall cinematography is to be well respected. Of course, the performances need to be applauded as well as Dev Patel and Judi Dench provide solid, believable performances. The film seems somewhat empty, though. There is a storytelling element missing that needs to help drive the plot forward. There is a little too much going on at times. The film is still somewhat enjoyable, but director John Madden does not show us what he is fully capable of.

Content of concern

The film contains some suggestive content and mild language. For a romantic comedy, though, it was refreshing to see no sexual content displayed on screen. However, we do see some women in swimwear, revealing gowns, and some suggestive dance moves. There is occasional light flirting amongst characters, some kissing between couples, and a very mild sex reference that will most likely fly over young viewers heads. The term “pimping out” is used, affairs are lightly implied, and a character is seen reading 50 Shades of Grey, as a young girl looks over her shoulder.

Sonny tries to set his mother up with one of the hotel’s guests, much to her resistance. Sonny even goes as far to say, “The man is so handsome, he makes me question my own sexuality” (played for laughs, of course). A man is accused of adultery by his separated wife (he is not guilty) and one other reference to adultery is made, as well. An unmarried woman has a mentioned affair with another man, and a handful of other subtle suggestive comments are made. Also, an unmarried man and woman go into a room together. Sex is not implied (then), but we do see them walking outside together the next morning, and the woman later reveals that “he was her first since her husband died,” unfortunately implying sex. The same goes for the divorced man, but he also says that she “…can be his last.” These lines of dialog are very subtle, though.

In terms of crude and profane language, the script is limited to about a half-dozen abuses of God’s name, one unfortunate abuse of Jesus’ name, one use of the phrase “p*ss off,” and a handful of British profanities, including the terms “bloody” and “bullocks”. There is no violence to be concerned about, but one character is nearly hit by a car as a man pulls her back just in time. There is no drug content or apparent smoking in the film, and alcohol consumption is limited to a few glasses of wine being displayed and consumed.

There are some additional negative elements that may be concerning to some viewers, as well. There are no references to any form of spirituality, and the closest we get is seeing an Indian wedding ceremony displaying some slightly questionable rituals. A character’s (separated) wife shows up unexpectedly in India, harshly asking her husband for a divorce, since she was recently proposed to by her boyfriend.

Lying and deception play a small theme in the film, without much consequence, as well. Another character does not fully understand “why one would marry” and that “some things aren’t worth the wait.” These two quotes I find problematic.

Why shouldn’t one marry? Jesus says in Matthew 19:4-6 (ESV),

“Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

In other words, marriage is a gift from God—a beautiful relationship and bond between a man and a woman who love each other.

“Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.” —Hebrews 13:4

“The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” still displays marriage in a positive light, though, as Sonny stays dedicated to his bride to be throughout the many obstacles he faces. Unfortunately, the consequences of sexual immorality and adultery are not on display. God’s Word is very clear, though:

“He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself.” —Proverbs 6:32

”Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.” —1 Corinthians 6:18

There are some pleasant, positive themes weaved into the tale of “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.” No matter how old you may be (as the film suggests), you can still find love and never be too old for it. There are tenderhearted themes of being “young at heart,” as older couples pursue relationships and try to live in the moment—seeing life as a priceless gift. The sanctity of marriage is on display, and the themes of repentance and forgiveness play a role, as well. Although one character prioritizes unimportant tasks over his relationships, he later realizes his wrongdoings and neglect and seeks forgiveness. Ephesians 4:32 says,

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

The same character also falsely accuses a friend of pursuing his fiancée, but later realizes his friend was just trying to help in a situation. Unfortunately, though, we never see him apologize.

”Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” —1 Corinthians 13:4-7

The themes of this powerful verse are on display in “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.” Although the consequences of lying and deceit are not fully displayed, Jeremiah 17:9 can be applied:

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”

Conclusion

This film shows that love can be quite complicated at times and that relationships (especially romantic ones) should not be taken for granted. It is about unity—forming a bond between two individuals. Through trial and error, friendships are restored and made stronger.

“The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” may not be the best entertainment choice out there, but it is definitely one of the safest options (for mature audiences) within the romance genre these days. To its advantage, it does contain some strong, positive, thought-provoking themes at its core. I’d recommend this film mainly for the adult audience. Not that the content is too strong for children, but mainly for the fact that younger audiences will find this film just plain boring and will not fully understand its mature themes.

“PG” rated romantic comedies are rarely heard of these days, so if you find yourself in the mood for a warm, yet dramatic romantic comedy with beautiful scenery, I would recommend you give this film a watch. I do not approve of the profane language used or the suggestive content, but these more mature themes may open up some doors and make a good discussion topic for followers of Christ who are struggling with friendships, romantic relationships, and, perhaps, even marriages.

“Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” —Mark 10:9

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” —1 John 1:9

Violence: Minor / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Moderate

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive

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Neutral
Neutral—This is quite a silly movie. It has its very funny moments, thanks to some good comedic writing and spot on delivery by talented actors, especially the very funny Dev Patel, who manages this hotel for seniors who want to live out their remaining years with some exotica. One of my favorite actors, David Strathairn, has a small role as a financier. Maggie Smith is always delightful in her wry perspective on her aging peers.

The movie lagged and did not succeed as well as I had hoped. It’s nice to have a few good-natured laughs, but I wished for more of them.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Halyna, age 68 (USA)
Negative
Negative—This movie is pitched solely to elderly people, especially ones who are more simplistic, because that is what this movie is—an overly simplistic pablum of a movie that is basically a string of cliches. Yes, when you’re old you can start a new career. When you’re old, you can make new friends. When you’re old you can sleep with as many people as you want to. Very inane.

The main character, Dev Patel, is acting like a rude doofus throughout the movie. It wasn’t believable, just incredibly annoying. The only nice bit was the relationship between Bill Nighy and Judi Dench. The Bollywood dancing was only at the end and was cut up into pieces by flashes of other scenes, so even that was disappointing.

Morally: let’s all just have sex with anyone and everyone. There was no nudity shown, but I got quite tired of seeing people with their lovers. Some people were quite shortsighted and selfish, but that’s life. Don’t waste your money or time on this one.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 2½
—Michael H, age 48 (Canada)
Movie Critics

…It’s sentimental, silly and stereotypical, but this later-life comedy sequel grows on you, and the thespian firepower of Smith, Imrie, Nighy, Dench—and now Gere—is redoubtable… [3/5]
—Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian (UK)

…First-rate cast to an unneeded sequel… [2½/4]
—Liam Lacey, The Globe and Mail

…This follow-up plays like a hastily written hash of meandering storylines and dark alleys that never resolve themselves into anything approaching the light beyond the dark at the end of the tunnel of Marigold the First. …
—Marc Savlov, The Austin Chronicle

…a pointless sequel …Second best by a distressingly large margin. Dev Patel continues to be extraordinarily annoying… [1½/4]
—Lou Lumenick, New York Post

…Not top-notch… the same problems as the first film also re-occur, and this time they’re a bit more glaring. …
—Stephen Whitty, The Star-Ledger (New Jersey)

…so-so sequel… There are enough engaging moments to keep the new film from being a total bust…[2½/4]
—Connie Ogle, The Miami Herald

…full of humor and fun, but contains some immoral behavior and light foul language unsuitable for some media-wise viewers. …
—Ted Baehr, Movieguide

…The story at times makes light of cheating and indiscretions, even joking about adultery. And few of those engaging in (offscreen) sex are actually married. …
—Adam R. Holz, Plugged In

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