The Namesake Reviews
This movie relates to religion the most, because a lot of times when kids become adults they start to move away from the strict religious beliefs that they have grown up with because they really don't understand them. Then when they become older and realize the things they were taught were very meaningful and had good reason. Tradition is an important thing, and when they realize that they see that they want their families to grow up the same way, with tradition and family.
The Ganguli family in Jhumpa Lahiri's The Namesake has a problem. The mother and father are traditional Bengalese from Calcutta, and they are not particularly interested in assimilating into the United States, their adopted home. Gogol, their son, however, was born in the United States and is somewhat embarrassed by his parents Bengalese practices. Gogol is also uncomfortable with his name. It is neither a Bengalese nor an American name. No one he knows has a name like his. In school, kids make fun of it. But the conflict goes deeper than that.
Gogol's father tries to explain why he gave that name to his first-born child, but Gogol could not care less. Gogol, in his attempts to get out from under the Bengali culture, even tries to completely disassociate himself from his family. But when his father dies, Gogol is surprised by how much he misses him. Slowly he turns back to his mother and sister. His new closeness makes Gogol's American girlfriend question why he is acting so differently. The strain breaks down their relationship.
Later, when Gogol's mother suggests that Gogol call the Bengalese daughter of her friend, Gogol resists, for a little while. Then he gives in, somewhat curious about dating a Bengalese woman.
As Gogol slowly realizes the importance of his family and his culture, he falls in love with Moushumi, the Bengalese woman. The story appears to have finally come to a happy conclusion. Gogol and Moushumi are married. But this is not a romantic happily-ever-after tale. Moushumi, who was a quiet and shy young teen, has tasted freedom in her twenties, a freedom from her parents and their strict Bengali ways. Now Moushumi feels confined in her marriage, no matter how well Gogol treats her. She turns away from him in the only way she knows how: she has an affair.
The Namesake takes movie goers, behind the scenes to see just how other cultures handle situations such as the one that they had. The movie relates to World Religion, because half of the cultures such as the India, Hindi, Japan etc. all have arranged marriages and they go thru the same things that Moushumi, went thru in this movie!! This was a great movie to watch!!
Religion is very prominent in India and it is evident in this movie how deeply religious the family is. In the wedding scenes we see a lot of Hindu elements and attire. There is also a Hindu funeral scene after *spoiler alert* a character dies. We even see some Hindu tradition in a scene where a baby is directed to choose an item off of a plate to determine their fate or position in this life. There is also a scene where the father talks about meeting again in the next life, a Hindu concept of reincarnation.
After reading the book, my class watched the movie Namesake which was based off the novel. Generally speaking, I enjoy the novel more than the movie because the novel usually gives more in-depth detail to the characters thoughts. However, this movie did a phenomonal job of showing the stages of Gogol's journey of enlightenment. Namesake had excellent character potrayal and was very close to the way I pictured them in my head while I was reading. I would recommend watching it, preferably after you've read the novel.