Australian Council on Children and the Media

Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, The

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Not recommended under 14 (Themes, sexual references and lack of interest)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, The
  • a review of Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, The completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 27 March 2012.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 14 Not recommended due to themes, sexual references and lack of interest
Children over the age of 14 OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, The
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes, sexual references and coarse language
Length 123 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel tells the story of an unexpected group of ageing people thrust together in the search for a different life.  Evelyn (Judi Dench), Douglas (Bill Nighy), Jean (Penelope Wilton), Muriel (Maggie Smith), Graham (Tom Wilkinson), Norman (Ronald Pickup) and Madge (Celia Imrie) all have different reasons for responding to an unusual advertisement that offers an alternative retirement option in the colourful and exotic surrounds of India.

On arrival in India the group finds that the hotel is a little less luxurious than the advertising had suggested.  Nevertheless, life at the Marigold Hotel, run by the irrepressible Sonny (Dev Patel), begins to charmat least some of its guests, and lives change in unexpected ways.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Death of a main character; relationship breakdown and infidelity; racism

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is no physical violence, but a number of verbal arguments among characters.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of eight, including the following:

  • One of the more endearing main characters in the movie dies of a heart attack.  He is found collapsed in a chair by another character who is visibly upset. His body is later cremated in a traditional Indian ceremony. The body is seen in the fire, but only as a shape covered in ashes. Later his friend scatters his ashes in the sea.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group may also be disturbed by the idea of a body being burnt on an open fire.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Children in this age group may also be disturbed by the idea of a body being burnt on an open fire.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this film.

Product placement

There is some product placement in this movie, including:

  • Dell
  • HP sauce
  • Hobnobs
  • Honda
  • GE
  • Yamaha
  • Sony
  • Fortis Healthcare

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • One of the men is very eager to have a relationship and goes speed dating. He lies to the women he dates about his age.
  • One of the main characters talks openly about being homosexual. He reflects on a love affair he had whilst he was younger with a man that he still loves.
  • Reference to taps and nozzle being like a penis.
  • One of the characters goes to the doctor for Viagra (or something similar). There is fairly subtle talk of the tablets being used with his new partner and the consequent effects.
  • Two of the characters are seen reading the Kama Sutra and one character briefly practices one of the moves whilst reading it. He is fully clothed when doing this.
  • One of the married couples in the movie is having marital problems. Both are seen developing feelings for other people.
  • Mention of Sonny and his girlfriend having sex.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • One of the characters is seen showering in the nude, although only his upper body and legs are shown.
  • Sonny’s girlfriend sneaks into the hotel to surprise him.  She is seen taking her clothes off and slipping into the wrong bed.  She leaps from the bed and wraps a sheet around her. 

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • All of the main characters are seen drinking alcohol at most meals and throughout many scenes.  None are seen to be drinking to excess and all are of drinking age.
  • A subtle reference to smoking marijuana

Coarse language

There is some mild coarse language in this movie, including:

  • hell
  • buggers
  • bastards

In a nutshell

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is avisually beautiful film about a group of retirees who travel to India in the hope of finding a better life. Although there is little in the film that is likely to disturb children, the themes and story lack interest for children and the film is more likely to appeal to adults who are fans of the much-loved British cast.

The main messages from this movie are about embracing life and all it has to offer.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Being honest and true to yourself
  • Not being judgemental of others

Parents may also wish to discuss the racism and xenophobia displayed by some of the characters, how these affect these characters and the people with whom they come into contact, and why one of the characters changes her views.

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