The Dictator


Rating: 4½ / 5 stars
By Sally Burgess, Technical Manager

Trying to make their retirement funds go further, a small group of over-60’s travel to Jaipur in India to live out their twilight years in the hotel of the title. A stellar cast led by Dames Judi Dench and Maggie Smith star in this sweet natured and feel good movie, where they instead find themselves in a shabby, cracked old building needing a new lease of life. A metaphor if ever there was one.

Bill Nighy (so good in Love Actually) nearly steals the film as the downtrodden Douglas, desperately trying to make his marriage work yet finding himself drawn closer to Evelyn (Judi Dench). Celia Imrie (Calendar Girls) gets the best lines, with zingers like “I don’t want to be the first one they let out in a hostage situation.” And Maggie Smith plays a woman who starts off as a racist but you know she’ll love India by the end of the movie. So there are a few clichés and contrivances here and there.

This is a love letter to India as well as to our neglected elderly, and the colours and chaos of this amazing country provide a wonderful backdrop to all of the characters’ secrets, lies and discoveries. This is a film that taps into the overlooked over- 50’s market, but the younger generation might also want to check in at the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. I loved it.

Well worth a watch.

Standout performance: Judi Dench

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Rated: PG- contains coarse language and sexual references
Starring: Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy
Genre: Drama/Comedy
Running time: 123 mins

This movie is now showing at Reading Cinemas in Queenstown. This review has been written and rated by Sally Burgess of Reading Cinemas Queenstown.