The Namesake - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Namesake Reviews

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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.
April 1, 2015
This movie creatively captures the life of an Indian family making their way in a foreign land. It is centered around Gogol/Nickel. Overall the movie stays hand in hand with the book straying at minor things such as quotes for instance when Ashoke dies, instead of saying he "expired" the intern said he passed away. The only other thing that stuck out to me is that they did not put any emphases on Gogol's failed marriage (when his wife cheats on him). Aside from those few discrepancies, it was a very well done film that portrayed the struggle between the new world and the old world as well as different cultural beliefs and traditions. 4 stars.
½ April 1, 2015
The Namesake is a movie about identity insecurity, culture segregation, love and loss. The emotional acting by a great cast relates all of these themes. Many scenes that are in the book are skipped over in the movie, yet Nair creates good dimension by summarizing lengthened activities. Kal Penn evokes the emotional tragedies Gogol suffers through and he represents Gogol's character very well. The story accurately depicts the life of the Ganguli family through the loss of family members, birth and the struggles of love.
April 1, 2015
The Namesake was a movie that was interesting and created a story that shows the difficulty of immigration and moving to America. However, because of the slightly slow moving storyline and the amount of "American" in the movie, the story wasn't very intriguing. What I mean by "American" is that what Gogol/Nikhil experienced during his life was the typical American lifestyle and Ashima and Ashoke had to experience this firsthand. In the novel, Gogol spoke quite a bit more and this added an extra element to the book. This element was lacking in the movie, and this took away from the overall movie. I enjoyed this movie, but it was not one of my favorites
April 1, 2015
Although the movie was a great representation of the book and stayed true, the story all together was not necessarily intended to be a movie. Throughout the movie Gogol did not speak much. This was a nod to the book. Mira Nair was able to add in hints and foreshadow using small lines of dialog very occasionally. This was a good movie for the story, but a bad story for the movie. Although I am glad I saw it I am definitely not going to watch it a second time.
October 4, 2014
I hate it when people say this, but I really have to - the book is far superior.

Even though the film sits at a comfortable 120 minutes, filmmakers cut out most of the powerful sequences that really make an impact in the novel. Moushimi's emotional baggage, Gogol's college years and relationship with Ruth, the inner racism eating Gogol and Moushimi alive, etc. I highly recommend the novel for an emotional rollercoaster. As for the film, unfortunately the rushed feeling of it all leaves you wishing you read the book instead.
October 2, 2014
This is a very incredible and amazing film. I love how it goes through India tradition with arranged marriages to moving and getting used to living in America to having children and watching them try to cope with trying to stay to tradition and not. This movie was so well done and it's one that will stay in your heart forever.
September 5, 2014
One of the few movies that have made me cry. The tale is beautifully acted, directed and produced.
½ August 31, 2014
The Namesake is a solid drama that combines many themes. Anchored by some terrific acting, this story follows an arranged Indian couple that moves to America. Kal Penn stars as their son, Gogul Ganguli, who develops into an Americanized teenager that has a difficult time accepting his Indian heritage. I'll admit, I was a little hesitant about Kal Penn in a serious role, but he does a fantastic job and is actually an underrated actor. As always, Irfan Khan is terrific and has really become one of my favorites over the past few years. I do feel like this film loses a bit of steam in the second half, but it's definitely a heartfelt film that I'd recommend.
August 15, 2014
The truest portrayal of Hindu life in America. You can take the India out of a man, bu as in any religion, the Hindu upbringing remains embedded in the soul..
I especially relate to this film as my most beautiful gir friend in CA went through something so similar. that I thought dibs and dabs were taken from her life as she dated a Hindi man who swore everlasting love.
When it came down to the nitty gritty, only another Hindu woman would do, because of the very strong heritage, caste system and the power of the mother.
Her Hindu boyfriend protested too much. He said, "So unrealistic" when not a year later he did to her what Kal Penn did to his American love.
To the man who said Kal Penn was miscast, I could n't disagree more.
The casting was perfect and spot on the cultural differences of the American-Hindi and the American-American.
A mustsee....and then you can see the dad in the wonderful film :The Life of Pi". Just have an entire box next to youwith Pi.
It was finally the talented Ang Lee's time to win the Oscar. Well deserved. I\
I usually disagree with the Oscar choices. This was one of the few times they got it right.
August 14, 2014
Another New York film, to follow 'Margaret', watched recently. This is an ensemble piece, and covers one family's history over a lifetime. Consequently it moves quickly and also flits between New York and India. Sensitively produced and presented, it's absorbing and well worthwhile. Touching without bathos, and with very minimal sex and violence. Like.
August 12, 2014
The Namesake is a well-written drama that stays nicely paced from beginning to end. Great acting and overall a pleasant film to watch.
½ July 2, 2014
This movie is a tale of a couple Ashoke and Ashima who meet in India and are arranged to marry. They travel to America where Ashima is culture shocked and she is shocked at the way Ashoke treats her, with care and kindness. Ashmia gives birth to her first son who they decide to name Gogel, after an author his father admired. They did not want to name the baby right away for their grandmothers choose the name,and in Indian culture they sometimes do not name the children for many years. In the hospital they let them know that in America the baby is not allowed to leave the hospital without a birth certificate and without a name they cannot create one. They decide to chose Gogel and later on gave him his good name which becomes "Nikhul". When Gogel starts to go to school he tells his teacher he wishes to becalled "Gogel" instead of "Nikhul" and that is what his good name becomes. The years go by and once Gogel is in high school as a senior at the point of graduating, you can really see how people are bullied on their culture by the way the kids in his class make fun of him. The gratify on their mailbox when they return from India also shows the racism people have in America towards people of other cultures and ethnicity. When Gogel goes to college, he meets Maxine who is American and his parents are accepting of her and as Maxine is of them. A short while after Ashoke, Gogels father moves to cleveland, where he dies of a heart attack. When his father dies that is when Gogel realizes Maxine and him are to different. He ends up marrying a girl of his own culture who he met as a teenager, but shortly after marrying the girl cheats on him. The girl speaks of how she does not want to like her mother, stuck. I watched this movie for my world religions class, I can see how many things in this movie relate to the things I read in our book called "invitation to world religions" by Jeffrey Brodd and others. While in the movie they do not focus on the religion but more on the culture. In the book it emphasizes how Marriage, death, and the role of women are important in the culture. Such as when Gogels father dies, they show the rituals and the spreading of the ashes. Also they show how important marriage is and how marriage is especially important in samskara. Women are shown to have the same roles and to be housewives but you can see how the culture grows by how Ashmia's daughter Sonia goes to California and lives on her own. Overall I enjoyed this movie and I got a better insight into Indian culture.
May 28, 2014
The movie the Namesake is about an Indian family who makes a move from India to New York. The family consists of the two parents Ashoke and Ashima and their two children Gogol and Sonia. The parents are immigrants and the children are American born. The basic plot of the movie revolves around the son Gogol and his lack of Indian heritage and traditions. He seems to be more focused on the American traditions and does not connect or understand his parents and Indian background. Before he begins his college journey to Yale, Gogol takes a trip to India where he is able to better experience and open up to his cultural background. Upon completing college, he begins his architectural job, changes his name, and falls in love with a wealthy white woman named Maxine. His parents are not very receptive to the ways of American dating and seem to be hesitant with Maxine. However, Gogol seems to develop a better relationship and closeness with Maxine's family than his own. There is a moment in the movie where Ashoke tells Gogol how they came about naming him and it is very touching. He chose his name after his favorite author and this will link to the book and his travels towards the end. Shortly after this moment Ashoke dies and Gogol is grief stricken and in being so, he tries to become more linked to his Indian heritage and live a life more like that of which his father would have wanted. His relationship with Maxine struggles and eventually dissolves through this transformation. However, he meets a fellow Indian woman through family friends and they marry. This does not last long because she has an affair and the marriage is ended. After all of this Gogol finds himself back at home with his mother to pack up and this is when he finally finds and reads the book his father gave him upon graduation. The book truly inspires him and creates a great bond with his culture and native background. He decides to travel the world and reconnect.
April 17, 2014
Maybe being a Punjabi male born outside my original homeland, I can sympathize with this film much more than most people, but personally, I thought this was a beautiful film, it captured the sentiments beautifully, it was clear as day, yet the ravages were apparent underneath the layer, it was really a story about family and the huge gaps there is, the apparent ones and yet the beauty of life as you have it, a movie that is more pragmatic than most sub-continental families would allow, because very few would accept a spouse outside the race, but yet, we really see the beauty of family here, a family drama this is.

Second Viewing: I love the concept of family here, beautiful. Heartbreaking and a powerful rendition of diaspora families and problems.
½ February 11, 2014
an intimate and poignant tale of a family's diaspora and their life cycle in America. very well acted by all parties
½ November 24, 2013
This movie is about a Bengali man who moves back to his hometown to meet his new bride that was arranged for the both of them whether they agreed to it or not. His wife name is Ashima who happens to be very beautiful and the husbands name is Ashoke whom happens to be not the most attractive but everything else about him says that he's a good man and very smart, Ashoke is an engineer who received his degree in the USA. After the wedding Ashoke then moves his wife to New York which seems very foreign to her but she soon adapts to the place as well as to her new husband whom she barely knows but soon falls in love with.

Ashima and Ashoke finally becomes intimate together and creates a baby boy and shortly after there was a girl. The first born son name was Gogol and the daughters name was Sonia. Gogol and his sister both experienced racism, work and marriage in New York. Gogol was the more rebellious one of the two and because he was raised in New York it was more difficult for him to adapt to his cultures traditions but once the tragedy happens to his father he begins to honor his family traditions by shaving his head and wearing different clothing and also marrying a women of his same culture whom later he finds have been very deceitful. Gogol in the end comes across this book that his father gave him that made him realize that he wants to get on a train like the old days and travel the world to find his own way.His sister ends up getting married but to someone of a different race who makes her happy which is outside of the tradition but is excepted when other ways of life is introduced.

This movie relates to world religions dealing with the Jainism way of living. In Jainism Worship occurs publicly at stone temples or at home at wooden shrines resembling the temple. Worship rituals may include chanting mantras, gazing at images of the gods (puja) or anointing such images. At the beginning of the movie it showed scenes where Ashima was chanting mantras in the stone temples amongst a group. Also in Jainism they do not wear shoes and they do not touch any person of the opposite sex. In the movie when the father passed away when the guess entered the house they all took their shoes off at the door. Also another example in the movie of Jainism is that Ashoke never had sex with Ashima until they became married. Gogol did the total opposite which had a lot to do with his growing up in the USA and not wanting to abide by his cultures way of life.Overall this was a great movie and it showed how you take two cultures way of life and combine them and even though it can be difficult it can also be life changing.
November 9, 2013
I'm really conflicted about this movie, because it's so perfectly true of how the Indian immigrant experience is--it captures perfectly each character in each generation--but at the same time it is so defeatist, and the story is so similar to my family's that it scares me, and that prevents me from giving it the five star rating it deserves for truth like no other movie has ever dared to show. Every Indian-American must see this film.
October 11, 2013
i read the book years ago and i liked it coz of its refreshing tone but this film is like a fast-forward version of book that loses the rhythm of the book. plus weak actors were chosen to play the role of Gogol and Moushumi .
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