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The namesake was a good movie. Two hours seemed slightly more than two hours...more like 3 and 1/2 but in the end was technically near-perfect, good handling of the storyline and the characters and a reasonably tight script. But that's about it. The characters are mightily clichéd. Everyone of them without exception. From the progressive Bengali patriarch to the nouveau sexy Bengali girl in love with a French man whose only grouse in an otherwise good marriage is that she fell into a cliché by marrying a Bengali. From the expat mother who has lives her life through her children to the White girlfriend who can't see beyond herself. As a "Slice of Life" movie, one expects the said slice of life to be exceptional. It isn't. It is as easily your story as it is mine..and if we're going to go down that path, we should soon logically have 7 billion such movies. And anyways the soaps are there to fill in that space much more efficiently. With the ABCD theme having been done to death and Hyderabad Blues 2 having released a good 3 years back... there is no point in the movie. But there is one redeeming point which has nothing to do with the movie itself. As a reasonably intelligent movie despite being obsolete, if juxtaposed with the Karan Johar/Yash Chopra type brain-dead NRI movies... it clubs them to death.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
With the world-class cast and a break-away novel, how could you go
wrong? I don't know, but "Namesake" did go awry.
The cast did not capture your imagination. There was very little emotion expressed in the film. When Gogol's wife leaves, he whimpers rather than rages. When the dad dies, Gogol becomes a regretful boy eager to please his mother. The sister is nearly a non-entity in the film. When the dad dies, it takes three days for the authorities to reach Gogol's mom. Based on the film, it might have been hard for her to tell if he was dead or not even had he still been at home.
I recommend against investing the time or money to watch this film.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I must admit the first half of this film was wonderful - I thought I
was in for a treat. And then came the clichés: the husband calling from
the hospital- "Don't worry, I only have a stomach ache" - followed by
his death, what I surprise - I didn't see that one coming! The ugly
teenager that turns into a hot babe. And then having been told since
the start of the film of the importance of Gogol's story 'The Overcoat'
what a clever twist to have the son reading this story at the end of
the film. Such originality! Then there were the plot absurdities - why
doesn't the wife accompany her husband to Cleveland, she never
explains. She went with him from India to the USA but she won't go with
him from New York to Cleveland. (Surely all this wasn't in the
Pullitzer prize winning novel.) The film just became increasingly
ridiculous as it went on for its overstretched 2 hours.
This film really was a lot of dross - and a missed opportunity to make a great film. Perhaps Mira Nair should have made a film of Gogol's The Overcoat instead.
This is family "coming to the US" story spanning two generations; the 1st coming from what was once considered an "exotic" locale (i.e. India). Unfortunately, in focusing on the lives of both the father's generation AND the son's, the film runs way too long, with scenes that really don't add much to the plot line; an example being the family trip to India...which is superfluous since we've already seen it as a backdrop in the first part of the movie. While the film does have a couple of excellent performances (Zuleikha Robinson proves again that she is as sultry as she is versatile), overall it is very slow moving and self-indulgent. Like "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" it uses (see: overdoes) the kitsch/formula of a culture that's not quite like the rest of what middle-America may be used to over and over (i.e. "we're Indian/Greek/Italian/Rastafarian/Scientologist...so we have to do things this way") but in the end succeeds in showing us just how much we really are alike.
I have a request to Mira Nair.. please study Bengali psyche before you attempt to make such a movie. this movie is nothing but a masala mix of incidents with no concrete framework. Just by mixing scenes from Kolkata and USA does not give any impact to educated audience or global value. The editing is horrible. I am surprised by this kind of sloppy work from her specially after watching salam bombay and mississippi masala where she could prove that she knows how to make a movie. Sad to say this is a complete waste of money talent and time. The whole namesake theme was so cheap that it will wonder anyone with maturity that why the heck she went to make a movie about this.
Not only known for his hilarious role as "Kumar", Kal Penn has some
rather good acting talent. But surprisingly, Irrfan Khan was just as
good in his role as the father of "Gogol", the original name Kal Penn's
Set between India and the U.S., this film shows the immigration of two Indians that establish a family in the United States. From there you see the struggles of the wife that struggles to adjust for all the years she spends there. Her children are very much American, but she becomes somebody who is torn between two worlds.
I could say more about the relationships the two children enter, but that might be ruining it for future viewers. But it did show the struggle for identity for immigrant families. But again, the script seemed lacking in the story and struggle.
There is some nice drama, although it could have been written better. However, I did appreciate the irony of the ending. The son, Penn, reading the same book on a train that his father got the inspiration for naming him. One might think the same thing might happen to the son? Who knows, and it should be kept that way. "B+"
"The Namesake" is an admirable film, and it offers an interesting
glimpse into Indian culture, but it feels too much like what it is --
an adaptation from a novel. I haven't even read the book version, but
even I could tell that the movie was racing to touch on all the major
plot points, and sacrificing along the way all the nuances and
subtleties that I have no doubt were in the written version.
The film tells the story of the only son of an immigrant Indian couple who grows up American and doesn't learn to appreciate his heritage until a momentous life event teaches him a valuable lesson. In the hands of Mira Nair, who has made some lovely films ("Monsoon Wedding"), it's a never less than sensitive and thoughtful movie, but by the film's end, I felt that everyone was racing through the plot in order to squeeze everything in, as if they knew they were running out of time and wanted to hit all the high notes. I also think the movie would have benefited from a less linear approach to its narrative. It's broken into roughly two halves, one showing the immigrant experience of the parents and the other the upbringing of the son. But blending the two stories more fluidly together would have had a greater cinematic impact, regardless of how it was told in the novel.
One thing this movie definitely has in its favor, though, is the beautiful Indian actress Tabu, who gives a wonderful performance as Ashima, the mother who endures through hardship and anchors the film. She's the heart and soul of the movie, and imbues it with a tremendous amount of warmth.
I just finished watching The namesake. The movie starts with an event which will be the key to the message. Yes, this is a movie with a message. And although this is already a big plus in my book, it's also delivered with a mastery which a lot of "would be directors" should learn from. I didn't know Mira Nair until now. A few months ago, I started watching A Monsoon Wedding, but my girlfriend of the time, being Chinese, just couldn't handle it (go figure!) Anyway, I am now really intending to get back to that movie and even explore all of Mira Nair's movies. The story is about a couple of immigrants from India coming to live in Boston, and their experience with life there, far away from their culture, but more importantly, the reason for their first child's namesake. I will not divulge here so many details as others have already done... sometimes sadly enough in too great details for my taste. What I want you to know is that this movie will highlight some of the real important things in life, and help raise your awareness of how much we take them for granted. There are so many beautiful, both fun and sad, moments in this movie that I didn't see the time fly. And then some great views of life in India, the rich cultural background, so full of colors, of ceremonies and rituals, that makes you want to travel there to see it first hand (yes, yes... I now know where will be my next big trip) Please do yourself a favor, rent and watch this definite masterpiece.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
To be honest, I had some time to kill, wanted to see a movie, and I'd seen both action flicks that weekend and nothing else looked even close to being good. I've worked with Indians over the years and didn't have a clue as to their culture so thought this film might provide some insight. From what I've read here on IMDb, I did get a glimpse or two and got a decent story and some entertainment in the process. Plus,some of the Indian chicks were hot. I had no idea. Namesake does provide a journey, but it was slow in several places (you know, the check your watch test). I really enjoyed the footage of the Taj Mahal and the director and cameraman deserve kudos for such nice work. I'll probably buy the DVD just to get the wonderful honeymoon suite dance scene and music.
When I saw that this movie was playing near me, I had to see it-having recently seen Water and being a fan of Mira Nair, I had to see it. This movie was wonderful!! The acting, the story the cinematography all make this one of the best movies I have seen. I did not know what to expect, when I see a film based on a book, I usually try to read the book first to see how well the story is translated to film. Well, having seen the film, reading the book will only bring back wonderful memories. As a fan of Bollywood movies, many of the cast members looked very familiar, as did some of the American cast (after checking out the cast list and their filmography, now I realize why). Mira Nair manages to get wonderfully subtle performances from her cast, many who have worked with her before. I surely hope that this movie is put forth for this years Oscar nominations as was Water. This is a must see for anyone who wants a wonderful evening of entertainment and insight into families of all types.
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