The Namesake 2007 PG-13 CC

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(230) IMDb 7.6/10
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A young Indian boy living in New Jersey rebels against his traditional parents and struggles with identity and love.

Kal Penn, Tabu
2 hours, 3 minutes

Available to watch on supported devices.

The Namesake

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Product Details

Genres Drama
Director Mira Nair
Starring Kal Penn, Tabu
Supporting actors Irrfan Khan, Jacinda Barrett, Zuleikha Robinson, Brooke Smith, Sahira Nair, Jagannath Guha, Ruma Guha Thakurta, Sandip Deb, Sukanya, Tanushree Shankar, Sabyasachi Chakraborty, Tamal Ray Chowdhury, Dhruv Mookerji, Supriya Choudhury, Stuart Rudin, Heather MacRae, Sumitra, Kanti
Studio Fox Searchlight
MPAA rating PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Rental rights 48 hour viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

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Customer Reviews

It is truly a beautiful, powerful film.
R. Crane
This is a superb film about an immigrant family adjusting to life in America and the cultural and psychological conflicts that occur.
Cap'n Dan
The actors do a really great job and the acting is well done.
David Marceau

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

74 of 75 people found the following review helpful By Mark Barry TOP 500 REVIEWER on August 13, 2007
Format: DVD
This movie deals with Bengali culture in India and families both in their native lands and abroad - and I have to say is one of the most satisfying and beautiful watches I had the pleasure of sitting down to. To an Irishman of 49 and typical multiplex type, I'd admit that most of the cast is unrecognizable to me, but that makes no odds, because all are uniformly superb. And I love the insights the film gives into a culture as fascinating as theirs.

It begins in 1977 when a young Bengali man (who has been to study in the USA since 1974) is back in his native Calcutta to meet his new bride - one that is picked out for him whether he likes her or not. He is Ashoke, an engineer with prospects - played subtly and gently by a fantastic Irrfan Khan. Ashoke gets real lucky - his bride is the quietly beautiful Ashima (it means limitless, played by the gorgeous Bollywood star Tabu). Waiting with her parents, Ashoke looks uncomfortable but resigned - its been done this way for centuries. Before Ashima goes into the room to see him for the first time - she tries on his American shoes he's left outside the room - they fit and she likes them - a good sign. Ashima takes them off and meekly enters - ultra respect to her elders. Ashoke is not traditionally handsome, but his big soppy bug-eyes and equally studious glasses tell you that this is a good man - and an intelligent one. They marry in full traditional dress and custom. Ashima waves her family goodbye at the airport and then on to New York.

Life in America is foreign to her, but she adapts. Besides, something else is happening that makes it all bearable; Ashima is slowly but surely falling in love with her 'chosen' husband.
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Alan Draven on March 28, 2007
Director Mira Nair's The Namesake (based on the novel) is the story of a Bengali family's journey through life in New York after emigrating from India. Their son Gogol (Kal Penn) is caught in a culture gap between his parents' old traditions of India and the clashing modern ways of the United States.

I have to admit I didn't know much about Indian culture prior to seeing this film; not the way I knew about the Japanese, the Chinese, the French, and Italians, anyway. It was easy to relate to the family's alienation and feelings of loneliness. On top of the generation gap between their parents and them, Gogol (whose father named after Russian writer Nikolai Gogol) and his sister Sonia struggle to understand their parents' take on life. The film skillfully deals with life's most important issues and stays in touch with the essence of the characters. The cinematography is beautiful and the performances are heartfelt. Kal Penn sheds his stoner image from Harold and Kumar to deliver his most poignant performance to date. The film does tend to drag a bit in certain places, but the overall experience is an enjoyable one.

Well written characters and script, great actors, and a talented director make this one a must-see for aficionados of foreign and art-house films. If you've always wondered what it's like to come from a different country and be immersed in a society such as America, then see this film. It's not a film meant for the mass audiences, but it achieves what it set out to do.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Anupam Satyasheel on May 15, 2007
Jhumpa Lahiri's international bestseller's screen adaptation, Namesake though not in the same league as the book, is a compelling work of art in its own rights. Though not significantly altered from the novel, the movie's script provides a distinctly different treatment to the way characters are depicted. As a consequence, Namesake the movie, is in many ways is more of a depiction of the life and experiences of Ashima Ganguli than that of Gogol Ganguli (the person who is meant to be the Namesake). Nonetheless, the movie is an insightful portrayal of a lifecycle of an immigrant family - including some brilliant scenes and some tender moments of exquisite emotional glory.

The acting of Tabu (as Ashima Ganguli) and Irfan Khan (as Ashok Ganguli) is of a very high standard. Their comfort in the role of immigrant parents is numbingly realistic. Irfan Khan stands out for bringing a typical immigrant father's character almost live to the screen. He is aware of his children's needs for different perspectives and practices than his own, but at the same time he is uncomfortable at their departure from values he holds dearest to his heart. In her portrayal of an immigrant Indian wife and mother, Tabu has attained excellence in her typical style.

Along with these outstanding characters, coexists a characterization that is less appealing than you would expect from a Mira Nair movie's protagonist. Gogol Ganguli's dilemmas and struggle for an identity have been dealt with in rather brief scenes, and the themes have not emerged well. That is why his reasons for refusing a girl with whom he was happy, and instead loving and marrying a girl, who eventually hurt him, are obvious only if you have an immigrant perspective.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Ed Uyeshima HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on March 10, 2007
Meticulously observed and wonderfully heartfelt, this time-spanning 2007 family dramedy represents a return to form for director Mira Nair, who faltered somewhat with 2004's elaborate but lugubrious "Vanity Fair". This one is also a literary adaptation but this time from a contemporary best-seller by Jhumpa Lahiri, who wrote an emotionally drawn story about first generation Bengali immigrants to the United States and their U.S.-born children. It's an intricate book full of careful nuances, and Nair, along with screenwriter Sooni Taraporevala, captures most of them in a most loving manner. The story speaks fluently to the universal struggle to extricate ourselves from the obligation of family and a perceived enslavement to the past. Nair and Taraporevala manage to transcend the necessarily episodic nature of the novel to make it an involving journey toward self-acceptance.

The film initially focuses on Ashoke Ganguli and his arranged marriage to Ashima, a classically trained singer. The young couple move from Calcutta in 1977 to Queens in order for him to pursue his career as an electrical engineer. The adjustment is difficult, especially for Ashima in assimilating into the often cold U.S. culture, and these quiet scenes show a keen eye for subtle observation. They quickly have two children in succession, son Gogol and daughter Sonia. Gogol's name is the key plot point as he was inadvertently after Ashoke's favorite writer, Nikholai Gogol, and this is revealed to have greater significance as the story unfolds. Eventually, the film switches the perspective to Gogol's as he grows up, changes his name to Nikhil and starts his life as a yuppie architect in Manhattan.
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