Film Review: Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Written by Marley Ghizzone

Second Best Marigold Hotel

Second Best Marigold Hotel Plot:

With the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel full of regular residents, Sonny Kapoor (Dev Patel) and Muriel Donnelly (Maggie Smith) hope to expand. However, things go awry and Sonny allows the problems of the hotel to get in the way of his upcoming marriage. The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel introduces new problems for the residents of the Indian hotel to overcome, proving that life never really stops.

I loved The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. It was funny and heartbreaking. It proved that a third act is possible, that growing old isn’t as horrible as I think. However, though I love the characters and the beautiful setting, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was just that- second best. The film lagged behind its original by a wide margin.

Second Best Marigold Hotel
Photo Credit: Laurie Sparham

Sequels are almost never a good idea, especially with a slice of life movie. The first film was a drama/comedy with some highly dramatic moments. Yet, at the end of the day, the original is a film that follows these characters as they assimilated to their new lifestyle. By the end, the audience saw everyone on a fruitful path. The creation of the sequel rips apart the happiness the first film concluded with.

The plot is very thin and simplistic. The conflicts are easily overcome. During 123 minutes nothing of significance really happens and the problems that arise are never fully explained or settled. For example, at the end of the first movie we leave Evelyn Greenslade (Judi Dench) and Douglas Ainslie (Bill Nighly) in a happy place. They were on the path to being together. But in this film, they aren’t. Something is different and stilted. They still hang out but are weird around each other. The audience gets the feeling that ‘something big’ may have happened.


By the end of the film, we’re still wondering what happened. From what one can gather,  Evelyn wasn’t completely ready for a relationship and wanted to take it slow but did not have a reason for it. The whole point, then, was to give this couple a reason to get back together. However, we had already seen them overcome a struggle that was bigger and more real than this, making this storyline feel contrived.

Second Best Marigold Hotel
Photo Credit: Laurie Sparham

The pace of the film is slow and a bit boring. There were a few very funny moments, usually due to Sonny’s maudlin reminders that the occupants of his hotel are close to dying. Though they don’t have much to work with, the actors namely Patel and Smith, are wonderful. They are the reason I have any positive feedback for the film. Also the super awesome Bollywood style dancing. I loved that.

If you are a fan of the first film you are definitely going to be disappointed. However, even with a non-plot and zero conflict, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel still achieves an emotional connection. You will laugh, you will cry, but, you will also check your phone to see how much time is left.

Rating: 4 out of 10

The Second Best Marigold Hotel hits theaters on Friday.


Marley Ghizzone is the current music editor and former Breaking News Editor for The Pop Break. Aside from writing news, Marley reviews television shows and the odd film. Pop culture is her drug of choice and her talents include binge watching entire seasons of TV shows obsessively fast and crying over fictional characters. Marley is a graduate of Rowan University. Follow her on twitter: @marleyveee