Sunday, April 1, 2007

The Namesake - Movie Review

The Namesake (PG-13) 122 minutes C+
Starring Kal Penn, Tabu, Irfan Khan, Jacinda Barrett, Glenne Headly, Linus Roache, and Daniel Gerroll
Based on the bestselling novel of the same name, The Namesake is a very sentimental and likable film. It's the story of an Indian-American family and their struggles to balance cultural traditions, family, and all the possibilities that come with migrating to the United States.

I thought this movie was going to be more about the interracial relationship between Gogol (Kal Penn) and Maxine (Jacinda Barrett), but it goes much deeper than that. Most critics really loved this film for its compassion, honesty, and humanistic detail. But it never seemed to grab me emotionally. This film is an exploration of life, love, and cultural traditions that strives to be moving, emotional, and uplifting.

The story begins in the late 70's, and spans two generations. The film is set up nicely, and proceeds through varies stages of the characters lives. It is well acted and features a surprisingly spunky soundtrack. But this amiable film didn't invigorate my emotional vulnerabilities like I hoped it would.

Perfomances by Indian model/actress Tabu and Kal Penn (you might recognize him as "Kumar" from the Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle movie) were especially strong. Ultimately, this is a nice film that I think some of you will really enjoy....especially if you like films about culture, tradition and family. There were a few things I didn't quite understand... but all in all it was an entertaining film despite its shortcomings (being a little too sentimental and feeling a little long).

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