Review first published on my blog: http://memoriesfrombooks.blogspot.com/2012/09/the-best-exotic-marigold-hotel.html
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is the story of a set of elderly British who all end up together in a retirement home in India. The book description focuses on Dr. Ravi Kapoor, who is originally from India but lives in England. He and his cousin come up with this scheme for a retirement home. The story though really is about the individuals who become the residents.
The cast of characters includes Ravi's father-in-law, Norman, a man in search of female company. Then, there is Evelyn, whose current home is closed down, and her children are busy leading their lives. Muriel Donnelly arrives because of a family crisis. The Ainslies arrive on a new adventure. Dorothy Miller arrives on a mysterious search. Added to this mix are other residents and the cast of "locals."
Unfortunately, I did not enjoy the characters or the book. It seems a sad book about a sad cast of characters. The focus seems to be on regrets and unhappiness with very few glimpses of the more positive aspects of life. In addition, the statements about India and Indians range from stereotypical to seemingly patronizing and insulting.
These features of the book may be understandable because of the ages and backgrounds of the characters and the time period. Unfortunately, the characters are not really developed and have no dimension or depth to them. Therefore, they elicit no emotional understanding or empathy. As such, the negatives just stand out all the more.
I read the book, and based on that, don't think I will be watching the movie.