|the day Graham quits his job|
|stuck at the airport when bad weather barred their transit flight straight to Jaipur|
|Evelyn and Madge setting eyes on the Hotel|
|Evelyn and Douglas accompanying Graham to look for his Indian lover|
Recently widowed housewife Evelyn (Judi Dench) must sell her home to cover huge debts left by her late husband. she had entrusted her whole life to him, only to discover at his demise that their idyllic life is nothing short of a sham financially. left reeling, Evelyn tentatively starts to pick up the pieces in order to continue living, perhaps not in England but somewhere else where she herself will be responsible in taking care of her life.
Graham (Wilkinson), a high-court British judge who grew up in India. He fell in love with a boy there and his wealthy British family discovered them. His boyfriend, a young Indian boy, was treated horribly as a result of their affair and Graham was whisked off to Britain with his family. He has returned to India after 40 years to spend the last years of his life and to try to find the boy, now a man, whom he has never stopped loving.
Jean (Wilton) and Douglas (Bill Nighy) seek a retirement they can afford, having lost most of their savings through investing in their daughter's internet business. Muriel (Maggie Smith), a retired housekeeper prejudiced against Indians and every other person of color under the sun, needs a hip replacement operation which can be done far more quickly and inexpensively in India. Madge (Celia Imrie) is hunting for another husband, and Norman (Ronald Pickup), an aging Lothario, is trying to re-capture his youth. They each decide on a retirement hotel in India, based on pictures on its website.
When the group finally arrives at the picturesque hotel, despite its energetic young manager Sonny (Dev Patel), the hotel is very dilapidated and not nearly ready to accept guests. However, Sonny's enthusiasm wins them over and the fact that this is was they could afford, the group decides to stay.
Jean remains ensconced in the hotel, while her husband Douglas explores the sights. Graham, finding that the area has greatly changed since his youth, disappears on long outings every day. Muriel, despite her racist attitudes, starts to appreciate her doctor for his skill and the hotel maid, Anokhi (Seema Azmi) for her good service.
Evelyn gets a job advising the staff of a call centre how to interact with older British customers. Sonny struggles to raise funds to renovate the hotel and in the mean time, to find opportunity to meet his girlfriend, Sunaina (Tena Desae), despite his mother's disapproval of city girls. Madge joins the Viceroy Club seeking a spouse, and is surprised to find Norman there. after achieving mutual understanding, she introduces him to Carol (Diana Hardcastle). Albeit false start at first, Norman admits to Carol he is lonely and seeking a companion, and the two begin a relationship.
Graham confides in Evelyn that he is trying to find the Indian lover he was forced to abandon as a youth. Social-climber Jean is attracted to Graham, and makes a rare excursion to follow him, but is humiliated when he explains he is gay though more in theory rather than practice. with Evelyn and Douglas' encouragement, Graham reunites with his former lover, who is in an arranged marriage of mutual trust and respect. Soon after he finally convinced that his former lover is all right and not ostracized when their affair was blown into open before, Graham finds his redemption and dies of a heart condition the next day.
during the trip to have Graham cremated at Jodhpur where he had spent the best times of his life, Evelyn and Douglas grow increasingly close. it wasn't helping that Jean is always angry, and in frustration, Douglas bursts out that he is tired of defending his wife's negative attitude, and it is clear just how unhappy their marriage has become.
Being thankful for Anokhi's hospitality to her all this while, Muriel who was left at the hotel while the rest of the guests went to Jodhpur for Graham's funeral rites paid her a visit to explain herself and her crankiness before. Muriel reveals through the help of the hotel interpreter that she was once housekeeper to a family back in England who had her train her younger replacement and now she feels that she has lost purpose in her life when they cut her off despite her lifelong devotion and care of them. Anokhi was first happy when Muriel out of her grumpy self visits her but later turned aghast and sympathetic towards Muriel for her ordeal. Muriel then left Anokhi with a gift of her favourite digestive biscuits.
Unable to secure further investment to improve the hotel, Sonny is threatened by his mother (Lillete Dubey) who is convinced by Sonny's more successful elder brothers' plan to demolish the hotel which they each own a third right to it. his mother later orders Sonny to return to Delhi for an arranged marriage and issues her ultimatum that the hotel will be closed.
|Jean sharing the news that Laura's venture has paid off and that the couple will return to England promptly on first class|
In Jodhpur, Jean reads an email from Laura. She and Douglas prepare to return to England as their daughter's venture had turned out OK and she had wired them enough money to go back to England in style.
Now that the hotel is closing, Madge prepares to return to England and Norman agrees to move in with Carol. Madge, after encouragement from Carol and Muriel, decides to keep searching for another husband.
Sonny, encouraged by Evelyn, finally tells Sunaina that he loves her and confronts his mother, who first forbids the match due to an unfortunate late night bootie call by Sunaina at Sonny's insistence.
however as they are having the talk in the hotel courtyard, an old man who had served the family for a long time approached Sonny's mother and said that he had once witnessed Sonny's father confronted his parents for their blessing to marry his now mother. Sonny's mother remembers that and finally gives the couple her blessing. She asks Sunaina to take good care of her "favourite son".
Before the remaining guests can leave, Muriel reveals that the hotel can make a profit and that Sonny's investor has agreed to fund his plans as long as Muriel stays on as assistant manager. All the guests agree to stay except Jean and Douglas who had left earlier.
On their way to the airport, Jean and Douglas's taxi gets caught in a traffic jam and a rickshaw driver tells that he can only take one of them. Jean sees it as a sign that it's time to split with Douglas and tells him goodbye and leaves. He winds up at the wrong hotel and spends the rest of the night wandering the streets.
Douglas then returns to the Marigold Hotel just as Evelyn is leaving for work, and asks when she'll be back; she says about 5PM. He asks her how she wants her tea.
A closing montage with a voice over shows Muriel checking in customers in an elegant renovated lobby, Madge dining with a handsome older Indian man, and Norman and Carol living happily together.
Sonny and Sunaina are shown riding a motorbike and passing Douglas and Evelyn on another bike.
It is a movie with hearts, loads of them. to have British people, each of them with underlying issues and problems of old people, cast upon India to survive, is something inspiring.
there are many famous actors and actress here. my favourite character would have been Evelyn. she is forthright in her pain, humorous at times and rather sturdy in stature. through her blog postings, we viewers turn to have a renewed hope in life. she was uncanny in her observation of life in India yet succeeds in finding joy in the ordinary lives of the people there. to see that in the end she and Douglas find company is a heartwarming ending of sort. JD's portrayal of Evelyn is a departure from her strong portrayal of 007's M. Evelyn here is shown to be at the end of her means, never need to work to support herself before yet at sudden turn of events, was left to fend for herself. she might choose the easy way by letting her son and family took care of her but learning the lesson from her husband high-handedness, she chooses not to.
Graham is also nice. he is kind and i like his voice. some of the movie critics even describe Tom Wilkinson's portrayal of him as 'perfect'. indeed. he is a self-deprecating educated man who is always haunted by his guilt. but he is always kind to others, respectful and gentlemanly. to see him communicate with the Indian boys playing cricket was fun. and even though some would say Jean's interest in him is bordering on being pestering, he never once belittle her nor put her in her right place.
it's hard to explain why i like this movie so much. but you have to watch it to understand, every scene interwoven nicely and meaningful. even Jean was commended for being the tortured soul by some of the movie critics. why not? her grimace, whining and wholesome negativity are definitely genuine. at some (unfortunately) impoverished parts of the world, us the people who are used to clean public toilets and dependable amenities would have cringed our faces off, not unlike her.
Sonny had operated the hotel with a marvelous idea: for England to outsource the care of retired citizens to him. where in India they could still enjoy what is left of their best golden years with what little they have. his optimist look in life would have irk you no less but still, he is someone who makes things happen. what he needs is someone to make sure his ideas continue to be doable. because trust me, people with great ideas often suck at management. it's a good thing Muriel was there to fit as the person in need.