Movie Review: The Namesake

Kal Penn in drama?!? That alone compelled me to watch The Namesake, a limited release film that was made in 2006.

To my pleasant surprise, the movie transcends its initial novelty and actually presents a very well-crafted story about a family moving through generations and surviving in a foreign land.
The movie's title is derived from Kal Penn's character, Gogol Ganguli, and its common name with author Nikolai Gogol. Gogol was named after his father's favorite author and the unfolding of this is relevant in the story was paced deliberately and patiently.

The film is essentially a family drama and how it deals with transitioning into a new life, inter-cultural relationships, and of course, going back to one's roots. Although the story focuses on an Indian family, I was able to relate to a majority of the scenarios presented, especially the drifting away of a child from his family. I'm doubtful, however, that non-Asians may not fully appreciate the movie.

The Namesake is an intimate film about family and culture. People who have migrated before or have family who have left for a different country will find this movie moving. I sure did.

Rating: 4/5

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