Marigold Hotel's Dench still driven by lure of the new

Wed Feb 18, 2015 1:40pm EST
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By Patrick Graham

LONDON (Reuters) - After a career spanning seven decades, Oscar-winning actress Judi Dench rails against the notion of enforced retirement every bit as much as the character she plays in her latest film.

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel renews our acquaintance with a guest list of fading Brit retirees whose lust for life is reinvigorated by the fresh and unpredictable environment they find themselves cast into.

Holder of the unofficial title of Britain's favorite actress since well before she turned 80 in December, Dench plays Evelyn, a widow who ends up running a business in her new home.

The film offers a mix of Indian and British themes, laced with hints of British comedy classics like Fawlty Towers and One Foot in the Grave and dominated by the rough-edged characters played by Dench and fellow octogenarian Oscar winner Maggie Smith.

Their experiences are worlds away from the grim, one-dimensional fate Dench says awaits many Britons as care home residents.

"I always think that our system over here is the wrong one," she told Reuters. "When you go in and you see people just sitting, you think there is no stimulus.

"It is interaction with people that stimulates us. To put all these people in a room, where maybe the television might be on but half of them may not even be able to see it. That's wrong."

She has ridden out problems with deteriorating eyesight and says she has much more work in her yet.   Continued...

Actress Judi Dench arrives at the Royal Film Performance and world premiere of the film, "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel", at Leicester Square, London February 17, 2015. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls