Given the legend that surrounds him, you might be surprised to know that Winston Churchill was by no means the government's first choice of Prime Minister during World War II. Still, he had many qualities that would make him perfect to lead the country at its most desperate hour of need; he lacked vanity, he was charismatic in many ways, and had a determination and forcefulness that few could hope to match. He was simply the country's last hope. But within days of being in office, he was faced with the biggest challenge of his career: the battle of Dunkirk.
Churchill knew what he was getting into from the start, with the War having already been waging for at least eight months. But with so many British and Allied soldiers stranded on the French beaches in 1940, surrounded by enemy planes at every turn, the probability of their evacuation seemed miniscule, the probability of German invasion extremely likely. While the people around him urged him to begin negotiating peace talks with Adolf Hitler and the Nazis, Churchill knew that the only way they were going to survive was if they stood and fought to the end. Surrender was not an option.
With the might of his colleagues and the brave military behind him, not to mention his loving and devoted wife Clementine Hozier, Churchill led his country to one of its greatest victories.
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Helen Shelly was once an internationally renowned Hollywood filmstar, though these days she's living in a retirement home in London - far from the glamour and luxury she was once so used to. Her former boyfriend, a film director, has passed away and a funeral is being held for him on the stunning island of Ile-de-Re off the coast of France. She's determined to crash the party by whatever means possible and enlists the help of the meek and impressionable Priscilla to aid her in her escape. Priscilla mourns a child she lost many years ago, and struggles to cope in her life with her unloving husband, but in meeting Helen she finds herself with a new lease of life. They may not have a lot of money between them, but they do everything they can to get to France in time for the funeral, meeting a handsome Italian millionaire named Alberto on the way. It threatens to cause a rift between them, but their newfound friendship goes far too deep for that.
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A badly under-developed script leaves a fine cast without much to do in this sequel to the 2012 hit. Reuniting in India, the actors find moments of comedy and emotion that help make the film watchable, and the big Bollywood-style finale leaves the audience with a smile on its face. But the simplistic plot-threads never amount to much at all, which leaves the project feeling like a missed opportunity to deepen the characters and push the premise in more interesting directions.
Business at the hotel in Jaipur is booming, so managers Sonny (Dev Patel) and Muriel (Maggie Smith) are looking for investors to expand into a second property. But this distracts Sonny from his upcoming wedding to Sunaina (Tena Desae), and she's not too happy about that. There are also two new guests (Richard Gere and Tamsin Grieg) who may be important. Meanwhile, Evelyn (Judi Dench) is offered a new job just as she realises she might like to pursue a relationship with Douglas (Bill Nighy), whose ex-wife (Penelope Wilton) turns up unexpectedly. Madge (Celia Imrie) is struggling to choose between her many suitors. And Norman and Carol (Ronald Pickup and Diana Hardcastle) are having relationship issues due to their lack of communication.
All of these momentous plots, and a few more, swirl around over the course of about a week, which means that none ever has a chance to develop. It also means that the characters are all so busy with their own stories that they don't interact very much, and what contact they do have feels rather contrived. As a result, the film feels like an awkward mix of disconnected slapstick, farce and melodrama. That said, these high-powered actors can hold together even the flimsiest scene. Dench and Nighy generate some lovely emotional resonance in their contrived storyline, while Smith finds some quiet pathos in Muriel's own journey, even if the filmmakers seem to have forgotten to hire someone to do her costumes, hair and make-up.
Continue reading: The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel Review
Set eight months after the 2012 original film, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel sees the majority of the cast return India for this sequel from director John Madden. In the run up to Sonny's (Dev Patel) wedding to Sunaina (Tena Desae), he is struggling to find the time to work at his hotel. With only one room left in the hotel, Sonny is confronted with an interesting situation when two new arrivals turn up - Guy (Richard Gere) and Lavinia (Tamsin Greig). With help from Murial (Maggie Smith) acting as the co-manager, will Sonny will be able to juggle his personal and working lives?
Seven retirees meet at the airport as they move to Rajasthan to retire in a newly restored hotel. Evelyn (Dench) is financially strapped due to her late husband's debts. Muriel (Smith) is getting a faster, cheaper hip replacement.
Douglas and Jean (Nighy and Wilton) can't afford to retire in Britain. Graham (Wilkinson) has unfinished business in India. And Norman and Madge (Pickup and Imrie) are both single and looking for love. But manager Sonny (Patel) has slightly exaggerated the hotel's facilities.
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Muriel, Evelyn and Jean are just a few of a group of British retirees who decide to travel to India to stay at The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. After viewing the hotel's website, they are won over by how luxurious the hotel is and are soon on the first flight out of the UK.
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Dastan (Gyllenhaal) is the adopted youngest son of Persian King Sharaman (Pickup). With his two brothers (Kebbell and Coyle) and their ambitious uncle (Kingsley) he invades the holy city of Alamut. But things go badly wrong, and Dastan ends up on the run with the local Princess Tamina (Arterton), bickering over a ceremonial dagger that turns out to have time-shifting properties. With the help of a local sheik (Molina), they return to the city and try to thwart a dark conspiracy to take over the kingdom.
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