With his film, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel hitting theaters March 6, now seems as good a time as any to recount the blessing to pop culture that is Dev Patel.
Now, of course he’s known for his turn in the Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire (which would go on to be copied with cringe-worthy results in a 2009 episode of The Office).
It was a moving film in which he performed wonderfully, and his chemistry with Freida Pinto was palpable – and real considering they dated after the film up until just recently. However, this is not my favorite role of his.
Dev first really won me over as Anwar on British TV series Skins. He really brought the quirky, affable character to life on the charming series, alongside talents such as Nicholas Hoult, Hannah Murray, and Joe Dempsie.
Later he continued to charm audiences as idealistic crusader for justice Neal Sampat on Aaron Sorkin’s HBO drama The Newsroom.
It was hard not to admire his unfailing attempts to win over the curmudgeonly Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels), especially when it came to his interest in Bigfoot.
Of course, in the end he fled the country, after accidentally being tricked into some possible treason, but… we still love you, Neal.
Last year he starred as obsessive compulsive Alex in the lovely indie drama The Road Within. A twist on your typical teen road trip trope, the movie beautifully touched upon difficult subjects without being too bleak or heavy-handed.
And then we’re full circle back to The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, the sequel to one of Dev’s most adorable films.
This movie has the lovable misfit crew of the hotel hoping to expand, even beginning with Dev’s Sonny and the hotel’s co-owner Muriel (the amazing Maggie Smith) heading to California to try and get funding.
Sonny – though he gets lost at times – is as sweet and idealistic as ever, doing whatever it takes to keep his dream – the hotel – alive and well.
The added bonus of appearances by Bill Nighy, Dame Judi Dench, Richard Gere, Celia Imrie, and Penelope Wilton make it all the more enjoyable.
A gorgeous and lively – small spoiler – Bollywood number at the end of the film doesn’t hurt in showing Dev’s endearing charm (nor the rest of the cast’s for that matter, as they eventually all join in).
The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel hits theaters March 6.
Until next time,