A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel -- the sequel to the hit dramedy The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel -- once again stars Dev Patel and a "who's who" of acclaimed British actors over 60. Although the sequel is clearly targeted at mature audiences, the movie is fine for older tweens and teens who are open to an inter-generational story featuring dry British humor and a cast familiar to them from Downton Abbey, Harry Potter, and Pirates of the Caribbean. Expect some sexual references and situations (including adultery and being active with multiple partners), but there aren't any overt love scenes that extend beyond embraces and brief kissing. Language is infrequent but does include British curses like as "bloody," "bollocks," and "shite"; there's also some social drinking, and one character who nears death.
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What's the story?
THE SECOND BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL is the sequel to 2012's The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, which followed a group of British seniors who ended up living in an all-inclusive Indian hotel specializing in the "elderly and beautiful." Now that the residents from the first film are settled in and thriving, clueless-but-well-meaning hotel owner Sonny (Dev Patel) and his manager, Mrs. Donnelly (Maggie Smith), have hopes of expanding to a second location. The American investors intrigued by Sonny's plan tell him they'll be sending an anonymous guest to scope things out -- and soon, a handsome 60-something (Richard Gere) shows up saying he's an aspiring author. But Sonny believes he's the undercover investigator. Meanwhile, Evelyn (Judi Dench) and Douglas (Bill Nighy) struggle to make the next step in their romantic relationship, Madge (Celia Imrie) must decide between two suitors. and Norman (Ronald Pickup) and Carol (Diana Hardcastle) struggle with monogamy.
Is it any good?
The movie's title is a little bit on the nose, because this sequel is most definitely not as good as the original. It's occasionally clumsy and unintentionally funny, but the ensemble of award-winning actors do their best with the admittedly "second best" material. Unlike the first film, which charmingly reminded viewers about the transformational power of travel and new beginnings, the sequel finds many of the characters in need of a good kick in the rear to get them to the next level, whether it's in their relationships or their career aspirations.
Still, these are actors who know what they're doing, and despite the shortcomings in the screenwriting, the octogenarian Dames (Dench and Smith) are always a pleasure to see. Dench and Nighy stretch out the romantic tension of their inevitable couplehood, while Smith does what she does so well -- make judgmental quips and give wise advice. As for Patel's Sonny, he's no longer insecure about his mother, but he's still insecure -- until his guests and his love help him see that he has no reason to doubt his success. Gere, on the other hand, is the movie's weakest link. The director should have kept the cast to the English stars, who will all hopefully keep working for years to come.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel's messages about old age, new beginnings, and second chances. How do the characters take advantage of their new opportunities in India?
Do you think a movie starring mostly over-60 actors only has appeal for adults? Would teens be interested in this movie? What messages does it have for them?
How is romance depicted in the movie? Does the movie make it seem like the elderly live celibate lives, or are they as interested in sex as younger characters?
- In theaters: March 6, 2015
- On DVD or streaming: July 14, 2015
- Cast: Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith, Judi Dench
- Director: John Madden
- Studio: Fox Searchlight
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Friendship
- Run time: 122 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: some language and suggestive comments
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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