My new favorite movies are "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen" and "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel." They are both British (I admit to a weakness for Brit Flicks) and are both quirky and tart/sweet.
"Salmon Fishing..." stars Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt. McGregor plays Dr. Alfred Jones, a Fisheries Department biologist who spends his days mostly practice-casting a lure dipped in ink at a picture of his boss on the back of his office door. He gets an email from a high-priced financial consultant (Blunt) who wants him to meet with her to discuss a wealthy client's dream of bringing salmon fishing to the Yemeni desert. Pressured by the Prime Minister's hyperzealous Press Secretary (Kristin Scott Thomas) he reluctantly goes and tries to tell her that it's an insane idea. For every objection he brings up, she has an answer. He also reluctantly agrees to go with her to one of the Sheik's several castles in Scotland. There he meets the Sheik, played by Amr Waked, who is definitely not a crackpot, but a fellow fly-fisherman with pots of money and a vision to turn at least part of the desert green. Filmed in London, Scotland and Morocco, the locations are beautiful and the acting is wonderful. McGregor plays this shy, Asperger's type individual whose wife is leaving him for a high-powered job in Switzerland. Blunt plays Harriet as a bright, up-beat young woman, until her brand-new boyfriend is sent to Afghanistan, caught in a firefight and pronounced missing and feared dead. In one of the most touching scenes, McGregor goes to her apartment, where she has collapsed from a broken heart and depression and he brings her a sandwich (you have to see it.) Scott Thomas spits fire as the Press Secretary looking for a feel-good story. I highly recommend it.
"The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" stars Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson, Maggie Smith, Celia Imrie, Ronald Pickup and Penelope Wilton, plus Dev Patel - the star of "Slumdog Millionaire." Patel plays Sonny Kapoor, who has inherited his father's crumbling dream of a hotel and advertises it in Britain as a cheaper retirement option. Lured by the beautiful pictures and the low prices, the Brit's pack up, say goodby to their kids and take the prepaid tickets to Jaipur, India. Maggie Smith plays Muriel, a deeply prejudiced woman, who needs a new hip and can't wait six months for the National Health. Her Dr. says she can be seen right away in Jaipur, so she also joins in the trip.
Judi Dench plays a widow whose husband passed away, leaving a mountain of dept and she has to sell almost everything. She learns to use a computer and she writes a blog to inform her family and it becomes a narration of sorts for the film. Bill Nighy and Penelope Wilton play a retired Civil Servant and wife, who invested most of their retirement fund in their daughter's start-up which isn't doing well. Tom Wilkinson plays a retired Judge who has come to India to connect with his past. Imrie and Pickup are both looking for love, specifically, rich love.
These are some of the best mature character actors in the world and it is a delight to watch them romp through this movie. I highly recommend it.
These are great "little" movies. They are not Hollywood blockbusters - there are no car crashes and no gratuitous violence. They are great stories about interesting people - my favorite kind.