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Wilkinson’s characters tend to run the gamut from amoral executives to care-worn fathers but here he is a lonely man, haunted by his past and the repercussions of his decision not to protest an obvious injustice.
The inner decency of Graham shows through at every moment; he’s a judge that I would want hearing my case, a man who wins the respect of pretty much all of his compatriots. It allows Indian culture to shine through without over-romanticizing it; you get the sense of the drawbacks of Indian culture as well (the congestion, the poor infrastructure and yes, the smell).
Each character gets at least a few scenes to shine in; most remarkable are Dench, Wilkinson, Nighy, Smith and Wilton. Dench does a voiceover (which is the vocalization of the blog she’s writing) that is actually non-intrusive and well-written rather than a lot of Hollywood voice-overs which tend to be the writers showing off how well they can turn a phrase.
Wilkinson and Nighy are two of the most consistent actors in Hollywood; Nighy often gets parts that are kind of far-out, but here his character is a decent man, worn down from years of living with a shrew.
Norman Cousins (Pickup), a ladies’ man, wants one last one-night-stand to tide him over.
Finally Graham Dashwood (Wilkinson) who is a retired high court judge, grew up in India and seeks to find a lost love.
He is desperately trying to get a local businessman to invest in the hotel in order to get it solvent; his mother (Dubey) wants him to come back to Delhi so that she can arrange a proper marriage for him.
Jean prefers to stay in her room and read, complaining about everything and everyone.Muriel, whose racially insensitive views made some uncomfortable, begins to come around after her successful surgery and befriends a maid of the Untouchable class.When she gives her some advice on how to better sweep the pavement, the maid is very grateful, despite Muriel’s discomfort.The new residents all react in different ways to their environments.Evelyn takes a job at the call center as a consultant to help the employees, including Sunaina whom she forms a friendship with, how to speak to elderly British sorts.