British retirees travel to India to take up residence in what they believe is a newly restored hotel. Less luxurious than its advertisements, the Marigold Hotel nevertheless slowly begins to charm in unexpected ways.
Based on a very clever comedy by Claire Booth, wife of Time Publisher Henry Luce and later Ambassador to Italy. One of the surprises was an all-woman cast, novel in the 1930's. And although there were no men in the cast, most of the dialog was about them. The story is rather thin and depended on the fact that divorce, in the 1930's, was not only difficult but almost impossible in New York. Mrs. Stephen Haynes learns that her husband is seeing a salesgirl at Saks, and reluctantly divorces him, abetted by her friends, all of whom have romantic problems of their own. In the 1930's New York women who could afford it went to Nevada, where residency could be established quickly and divorce was relatively easy. The 1939 film, starring Norma Shearer, Paulette Goddard, Rosalind Russell, and Joan Crawford, was a hit. This one, with an even better looking cast, is definitely not, largely because someone tried to move a 1930's situation comedy into the present. Written by
I was very disappointed by this movie. Ms English who says that she is a fan of the original movie seemed to have taken a great piece of artistic work, and transformed it into a flat-lined "ho-hum" you've come a long way baby production. I tried to like Meg Ryan's Mary Haines, but she was just boring. She didn't seem to feel anything about her husband's affair. There was no emotional struggle, no deep hurt. In the original 1939 movie Norma Shearer's Mary Haines felt betrayed, shocked, vulnerable, confused and angry. The 2008 production was more about some fake sisterhood theme, (Actually my wife's words)and didn't make you shed a tear or even chuckle. The only performances that were note worthy we're of Debra Messing, and Bette Midler. (I wanted more of Bette.) There was really no protagonist in this movie. The Sylvia Fowler character had too many sub themes to it. And Crystal Allen had no fire. The remake of the department store encounter with Annette Benning, and Miss Mendez was Luke warm. Also the pacing was slow as well. Obviously the 1939 version needed to be updated, but this one wasn't it. The reason that the original version worked so well was that the characters were dealing with "man" problems. A subject by the way which isn't out-dated. The magic of the original movie was that the movie was about both sexes, while you never saw the men.
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