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The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
American Cover

European Cover

Composed, Conducted, and Co-Produced by:
Thomas Newman

Orchestrated by:
J.A.C. Redford

Co-Produced by:
Bill Bernstein

Sony Classical

Release Date:
May 1st, 2012

Also See:
Couples Retreat

Audio Clips:
1. Long Old Life (0:31):
WMA (204K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

3. The Chimes at Midnight (0:30):
WMA (202K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

8. Assault on the Senses (0:29):
WMA (191K)  MP3 (239K)
Real Audio (168K)

21. A Bit of Afters (0:31):
WMA (204K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

Regular U.S. release. International versions feature the same contents but different cover art.


The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
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Buy it... if you appreciate Thomas Newman's ability to address dramatic situations with unconventional instrumentation, his application of regional tones in this score a tremendous match for the context.

Avoid it... if outwardly enthusiastic Bollywood sounds and scores that rely upon emotionally diverse vignettes rather than tight thematic and narrative cohesion drive you as mad as crawling through heavy traffic in a tuk-tuk on a scorching day.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel: (Thomas Newman) There's nothing revolutionary about director John Madden's 2012 adaptation of Deborah Moggach's novel, "These Foolish Things." A conventional ensemble cast drama, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is the type of film you respect and view for its fantastic collection of veteran British actors, each allowed to flourish while playing retirees escaping Britain to India for what they expect to be a luxurious experience living in an upscale hotel offered precisely for their types. When they arrive, the group of unrelated couples and single malcontents discovers that all is not as advertised, and they confront the challenges of their surroundings and their own inner demons before eventually coming to peace in the process of making the hotel into the best it can be. Concepts of race relations, class systems in Indian culture, and sexual orientation are explored, but The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is primarily a feel-good drama that won praise from critics and earned over $100 million worldwide thanks to the star power of Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith, and Tom Wilkinson, among others. The soundtracks for Madden's movies may be defined in the memories of most casual film music collectors as belonging primarily to his popular collaboration with Stephen Warbeck in the late 1990's and early 2000's, though the 2010's have established for the director a new relationship with Thomas Newman that began with The Debt. Madden returned to Newman for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and sought the kind of creative, ethnic mixture of familiar and exotic instrumental tones that Newman is easily capable of generating. The composer really is well suited for an assignment such as this one; while he often experiments with a wide range of unconventional world instruments for his standard dramatic scores and thus doesn't always quite connect with the audience because of the resulting kaleidoscope of bizarre tones, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is the perfect assignment in which he could really let loose with his Bollywood inclinations. As a result, he produces a funny and sentimental score that exists somewhere in between Mychael Danna and A.R. Rahman territory, utilizing his standard low-key dramatic approach in general but whipping up a mixture of India-appropriate sounds that really suits his tendency to explore unusual tones. The resulting score may be too foreign-sounding for some film music listeners, but if you already have a taste for Bollywood film music, you will be pleasantly surprised by Newman's enthusiasm and ability to utilize regional instruments with authenticity.

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The score for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is one of those extremely rare instances in which a soundtrack without any clear thematic core or even narrative flow remains extremely effective throughout its length due to its mere affable spirit. Newman's instrumental palette is India-centric, of course, offering sitar and bansuris along with other standard regional tones. Some of his more generic world sounds, especially relating to tingling percussion and glass effects, are once again present. A string orchestra very effectively provides background warmth to several cues. Stealing the show in this score, as sometimes is the case in Newman's most enticing works, is his vocal integration, using both female and male soloists to perform a wide range of emotional accents. The assembly of these performers is masterfully executed in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, restrained to ambient, synthetically deep atmosphere at times while exploding with rock-like enthusiasm at others. In between, you have moments of beautiful solace and rousing humor, each cue highlighting several specialty instruments in nearly constant tonal accessibility. There is little thematic continuity to be heard in the score, each cue a vignette of sorts. One common descending line does meander through the score's softer passages, however, and a few of the rhythmic ideas stated early in the score are reprised one time later in the work. The appeal of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel really exists in the fact that roughly half the cues are standalone winners, beginning with the most typically Newmanesque one, "The Chimes at Midnight," a purely lovely and relaxing plucked string, tingling percussion, and soothing vocal passage. A bit more engaging is "Assault on the Senses," which beautifully rotates through breathy woodwind performances over strings while hanging on notes within a progression in trademark Newman fashion. Highlighting the rowdier cues is the pair of "Progress" and "A Bit of Afters" near the conclusion, utilizing a common female vocal motif over spirited guitar and drum rhythms that are extraordinarily upbeat in their affirming tone, the latter exhibiting Rahman's bright sensibilities. Bracketing either end of the score in between are the relaxing atmospheric cues for male voice ("The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" and "Young Wasim") and the outright wild humor with aggressive group vocal exhales in "Tuk Tuks" and "Do Your Worst," the latter strangely reminiscent of Eric Serra's The Fifth Element. Several other cues deserve mentioning, but you really have to experience the soundtrack for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel to appreciate why its individual parts function so well as a whole. Newman clearly had fun with this score, and as long as you don't have an aversion to stereotypical Indian musical tones, that spirit will be contagious. **** Price Hunt: CD or Download

Bias Check:For Thomas Newman reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 3.17 (in 29 reviews)
and the average viewer rating is 3.11 (in 54,271 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.

 Viewer Ratings and Comments:  

Regular Average: 3.15 Stars
Smart Average: 3.17 Stars*
***** 24 
**** 37 
*** 30 
** 20 
* 22 
  (View results for all titles)
    * Smart Average only includes
         40% of 5-star and 1-star votes
              to counterbalance fringe voting.
   I dig it
  Dawson A -- 3/4/13 (8:26 p.m.)
   Alternative review at
  Southall -- 6/5/12 (5:19 p.m.)
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 Track Listings: Total Time: 46:43

• 1. Long Old Life (3:32)
• 2. This is the Day (0:48)
• 3. The Chimes at Midnight (2:38)
• 4. Road to Jaipur (1:29)
• 5. Night Bus (1:15)
• 6. Tuk Tuks (1:41)
• 7. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2:35)
• 8. Assault on the Senses (2:58)
• 9. Anokhi (1:10)
• 10. Cricket Spell (3:44)
• 11. More Than Nothing (2:22)
• 12. Day 22 (1:41)
• 13. Mrs. Ainsley (1:44)
• 14. Do Your Worst (1:48)
• 15. Udaipur (4:10)
• 16. Turning Left (2:00)
• 17. Not Yet the End (0:50)
• 18. Progress (2:42)
• 19. Young Wasim (2:46)
• 20. What Happens Instead (0:57)
• 21. A Bit of Afters (3:52)

 Notes and Quotes:  

The insert includes no extra information about the score or film.

  All artwork and sound clips from The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel are Copyright © 2012, Sony Classical. The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Filmtracks Publications. Audio clips can be heard using RealPlayer but cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 6/4/12 (and not updated significantly since). Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 2012-2015, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.