The Namesake - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Namesake Reviews

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½ April 9, 2017
This movie is based on a man named Ashoke. He was born in New York but grow up in India. He travels back to India to meet Ashima for the very first time. She soon becomes his wife and goes back to America with him where they have two kids, one boy named Gogol, and one girl named Sonia. As his son gets older he cares less and less about his Indian culture, because he has lived in America his whole life. He starts dating a white girl and breaks the Indian culture of marrying an Indian woman. He takes her to meet his parents for the first time and it goes way better than he expected. He tells his family that he wants to change his name back to his good name and stop being called Gogol. His father becomes very upset with this, so he takes him to the place where he came up with his name to show him how much his name means to them. He tells him how he came up with the name. When he was on a train his grandfather gave him a book named Gogol, and it was the last thing his grandfather gave him before they got in a train wreck. He tells him how every day since then was a blessing and how he cherished every moment of it. As Gogol goes back home he never calls or contacts his parents. He just lives his life with his girlfriend, even though his mother tries to get in touch with him over and over again. Ashima soon find out that Ashoke had a massive heart attack and died as he was away for work. They finally get in touch with Gogol to tell him the terrible news about his father. He rushes to his family to be with them during this hard time. He then cuts his hair and begins living his life like his father wanted him to. His mom then tells him to go back to living his life. Gogol's girlfriend end up cheating on him so he leaves her to finds his purpose in life. This is a great movie for anyone who is questioning their family religious beliefs.



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.
March 8, 2017
On it's own, it could be ok. But, as an adaptation, it fails spectacularly.
March 7, 2017
Well acted, yes; Kal Penn shows his acting range here outside of comedy. The pacing was rather slow in parts though, particularly the first act. Being a film about something commendable and relatable (learning to appreciate what's handed down to us from our parents), the 2 hour runtime stretches the message pretty thin. Somewhere in the beginning of the third act The Namesake feels slightly lost and directionless, seemingly deviating from the "generational inheritance" story at times. Regardless, it was definitely interesting, at one point shocking and heartbreaking, and overall solid.
½ December 27, 2016
Good, too long, I did not watch the 1st half closely.
November 29, 2016
This was a pretty good movie. If you like movies that follow the book closely this movie would not be for you. This movie jumps through time a lot, you do not really get to experience what Gogol childhood was like. I really liked that this movie showed the differences between cultures here in America and back in India. Overall this is an ok movie.
November 1, 2016
Movie Review on the Namesake by Leander Herring Jr.
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!!
July 1, 2016
Quite impressive movie.
June 29, 2016
A beautiful film immersed in a beautiful culture, audiences who are tired of coming-of-age stories about traditional American families should find "The Namesake" very refreshing.
March 27, 2016
i've heard good things about this movie, hope to watch it soon
March 7, 2016
The Namesake will ever be on my top 10 favorite movies and my absolute favorite novel.
November 14, 2015
Namesake follows the life of an Indian couple raising children in the United States. The movie does an amazing job at illustrating what life is like in an Indian family. The story begins as Ashoke and Ashima meet in the traditional prearranged Indian way where families decide who is a good match for their child. I loved the strong characters and acting. The story really engulfs you as you watch the characters grow up together and the family expands. The movie is well paced and about 122 minutes considering it spans about 3 decades. The central character Gogol is played by Kal Penn and I have only seen him in comedies like Harold and Kumar but he really shows how talented of an actor he is in this dramatic role. Namesake is beautifully written and the scenes transfer fluidly. As a Westerner I can only imagine what it is like to have a traditional arranged union but Ashima's husband Ashoke is a really sweet loving guy that you instantly feel connected to. He is just a man trying to live and raise his family and teach his boy about life.The photography and cinematography, reinforce the drastic changes that occur when moving from colors and chaos of India to the freezing winters of New York. We are easily able to follow the father and mother's struggle to connect with their children, hold together their family values and culture, and offer them the best life available.
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.
November 4, 2015
gives you mental calmness.
April 2, 2015
This movie is well done. The cinematography is great, the Indian culture is captured, and audience watching the movie, can grasp a country whether they traveled there or not. The acting, filming, and story line all correspond to bring this immigration themed movie/book to life. Though like the book, I did not find this movie very interesting. The story line is drab, it does not make viewers want to continue watching. As much as viewers are understanding the vibe of this plot, the audience may not feel the vibe, which I think every proficient movie must do. They also could have incorporated more of the 'name' aspect that is so focused on in the book. This movie almost seemed pointless, without delving into the name theme there is no purpose to the story line. There is no climax, there are no goals, there are no exiting parts; we are basically seeing an immigrant family's boring life. The most exiting part is when the main character gets cheated on.. it's kind of a twisted version of some reality show (though I would rather watch Keeping of with the Kardashians over this..) The main events of this movie are: high school graduations, a trip to india, a death, and an affair. All of these events are very far apart, and when these scenes are not happening: you might find your eyes moving away from your screen and focusing on whats trending on twitter. Overall acting was great, filming and setting were prime, but the story was remarkably dull.
½ April 2, 2015
I recently read the book Namesake in my 9th grade English class. We took this novel apart and put it back together many times, figuratively speaking, of course. I got a solid understanding of Gogol's journey and all the stages of his enlightinment.
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.
½ April 2, 2015
The Namesake impressed me under the light that they really captured the culture of India. This culture was important for the viewer to see to really be able to compare the living styles we have here in the US. The movie was much more appealing then the novel because one could really read the emotions of each character. This movie seemed to capture more of the depth of the novel. The movie did not have the best cinematography, the actors were okay and seemed to fit the roles that the novels described really well.
April 2, 2015
This movie was a great representation of the novel. The directors did a wonderful job with including the traditions and culture of India, just as they did in the book. Although, I think the film makers could have done a much better job of spreading the scenes out and letting the movie play out a little more. It seemed as if the scenes just stumbled upon each other so the movie seemed very rushed.
½ April 2, 2015
"The Namesake" is based on a book called "The Namesake." The plot has small differences than that of the book, but it does not detract from the quality of the movie. One aspect that is left out is the fact that Ashima, the main character's mother, stays at home by herself for extended periods of time. This was a crucial part of the plot. Overall, this movie reflects the novel well. I would recommend it to a friend.
½ April 2, 2015
Starting from the beginning of the movie, the setting is very cultural. The places they go to and the clothes they wear tell a lot. The setting changes quickly from an upbeat party place to a small apartment and a cold looking town. As the movie continues, there are many similarities that ties into the book, like Ashima being pregnant. One major difference between the book and the movie is that the movie shows a lot more detail with characters and scenes. I also noticed that both the book and the movie move through time quickly and a lot of main events happen fast in a short amount of time. As the movie moves more towards the end, it is very similar to the book. All the main events occur in the movie. Although the movie and the book have a few differences, you get the same idea in the end.
½ April 2, 2015
Though both the Namesake book and the Namesake movie are very similar and demonstrate Indian culture and life, they are very different. The book starts out with Ashima pregnant, making a rice crispy mixture. As the book goes on Ashoke's story of the train comes up as well as how Ashima and Ashoke met and married. The movie begins with Ashoke on the train, followed by how Ashima and Ashoke met and married and their traveling to America. Then the baby is born. In the book, Ashima and Ashoke take much more time to decide upon calling their baby 'Gogol,' than in the movie where Ashoke suggests it just moments after the doctor leaves.
Later in both the book and the movie Maxine is introduced and Gogol's love life explodes. In the book, Maxine is described as someone much more "hip" and down to Earth while in the movie she is a bit "airy" and crazy. In the movie Ashoke seems to die much quicker, more suspiciously and less eventful death. In the book, there is much more time and detail between the time when Ashoke goes into the hospital and when Ashima finds out that he is dead. In the book, the mourning period is also described with more detail and specifics. The book specifies how Gogol, Ashima and Sonia share meatless meals just as a family for a few days.
After the death of his father Gogol goes on a blind date set up by his mother with Moushimi. In the book their relationship is much more detailed, describing the restaurants they visit, the gifts they get and Moushimi's love for France. The movie speeds past their relationship, showing only brief clips and images.
Overall, the book was much more detailed than the movie, as in most book to movie adaptations. The book started to paint a picture of the world of Gogol, his family, his friends, his work, his house, his school, etc., and the movie completed the picture with visual evidence. Both the book and the movie were very intriguing and I am very glad to have read the book and then watched the movie, I think it gave me a much better understanding of the literature and the imagery as well as Indian culture as a whole.
As a whole, this movie was very interesting, it didn't quite match up with the book and I feel like it skipped over some important parts but it was still good.
April 2, 2015
Overall, the movie is great and it followed the book nicely. It does a very good job with the theme of identity, especially during the scenes involving the topic of Gogol's name. However, it is very hard to connect with if you are not familiar with Indian tradition because it is very significant throughout the movie.
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