What an utterly charming and warm movie! If you are expecting this to be “Slumdog Millionaire” for people with old folks’ pensions, prepare for a pleasant surprise. Although set in India, this film is a masterclass by great British actors saying very funny lines in a gorgeous setting.
Deborah Moggach’s book “These Foolish Things” forms the basis of the plot, although there are changes made. I missed the character Ravi, who was crucial to the 2004 novel and had all the best lines, which are reassigned to other characters in Ol Parker’s script, co-written with Moggach.
Everyone at the Stratford Picturehouse giggled and laughed out loud at the shrewd observations on modern life and getting older.
Super comments on England’s class system are made by the assorted characters, who feel forced to go to a new retirement home in India by their restricted incomes.
The hotel lacks the promised luxury of the brochure, but has other benefits.
Maggie Smith plays an old and poor woman, seeking cheaper and quicker surgery in India. Judi Dench has one of the best scenes when she starts to advise a call centre on how to speak to British customers.
Celia Imrie, Penelope Wilton, Tom Wilkinson, Bill Nighy and Ronald Pickup are all wonderful.
“Slumdog’s” Dev Patel and Tena Desae are both superb and their performances stand up well next to their co-stars.
Director John Madden (“Shakespeare In Love”) has a gentle touch, but never lets the pace slow down.
This is one for people who loved “The History Boys” and “Another Year” as they will appreciate this best.
Do see it on a big screen because the scenery and the hotel deserve it.