Speaking of twenty years back, as I did in my last post – the actor Al Pacino was 55 years old in 1995. Helen Mirren was 50. Judy Dench was 61, Maggie Smith was 61, and Richard Gere was the youngest of this group. Twenty years back, he was just 46 years old.
I mention these five because in the last six weeks I’ve seen all of these folks in films. Pacino has appeared in two films that I’ve seen within this period. So the question I’m asking now – concerning actors and actresses is – do they get better as they get older?
On March 10th, I was scheduled to fly from Orlando, Florida to Oslo, Norway. The flight was basically a red-eye, or overnight flight, and not wishing to drive too much at night, I got to Orlando in time to take in a late afternoon movie before heading for the airport.
The film I saw that night, and will be one of the three films I’ll review in this post, was The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,=. This film was a sequel to the popularly received The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel which came out in 2011. Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, and Richard Gere were the headliners in the sequel as was Dev Patel. By the way, in 1995, Patel was just 5 years old and a school child in Harrow, London, England.
While I won’t say that the sequel (I’ll call it 2nd Best Exotic for short) was a failure, it wasn’t – for sure it was less of an artistic success than the original. Dench, Smith, and Gere were marvelous as was Bill Nighy. But the film has to take 2nd place behind the original because of the way Dev Patel’s role was written.
To be fair, Patel played the role with a lot of zest. It was as if he relished playing a character who had previously been a sweet kid, a hotelier who was a hard-working and striving young man who got his hotel to go from a near derelict ruin to a successful venture in the original. But in this, the sequel, he changed into an obnoxious lout who was also rude and indifferent to any thing except his own goals which was to expand by adding a second hotel.