Growing old is not the end, it is only the beginning.
John Madden directs this hilarious journey of self discovery, alongside acting veterans Judi Dench and Maggie Smith. I taped this on Foxtel the other day, and I’m sorry I waited so long to watch such a brilliant film. The premise is that several British senior citizens travel to an ‘exotic’ resort in India for retirement. The hotel is not what any of them expect, and they must adjust to life in a new land, amongst a very different culture.
The journey that these characters take is truly extraordinary. Standout performances were Judi Dench, Maggie Smith and Tom Wilkinson. They all travelled to India for different reasons, and adapt to their new environment in their own ways, some more effectively than others. Amidst the tears, laughs, joy and goodbyes, the plot and performances were moving. Smith’s medical recovery and struggle with xenophobia was particularly comic, as was Dench’s blogging, and Wilkinson’s reunion with a former lover. Patel was also a standout. His struggle to follow his dreams and find love in the wake of his mother’s strict expectations was believable, and moving. It was nice to see the characters’ grappling with the little things, such as the food, public transport and climate.
In terms of atmosphere, the on location filming in India paid off. The smells, sights and sounds of India are vivid and seemingly pouring out of the television. It is a genuinely beautiful country, and the different setting was enjoyable. This is a film you will not want to overlook as I have. It is a sincere, warm, and hilarious film which brings several messages home, one of them being that to change your life you must change yourself.