The Namesake (2006)

PG-13   |    |  Drama


The Namesake (2006) Poster

American-born Gogol, the son of Indian immigrants, wants to fit in among his fellow New Yorkers, despite his family's unwillingness to let go of their traditional ways.

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7.5/10
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  • Jacinda Barrett at an event for The Namesake (2006)
  • Willem Dafoe at an event for The Namesake (2006)
  • Jacinda Barrett and Kal Penn in The Namesake (2006)
  • Tabu and Mira Nair in The Namesake (2006)
  • Sofia Coppola at an event for The Namesake (2006)
  • Tabu in The Namesake (2006)

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20 March 2007 | aharmas
10
| Best Movie So Far in 2007
As another proof that some of the recent award recipients have nothing to do with quality, here comes an assured and delicate piece of film-making that will probably not be honoured in the fair manner it deserves in next year's awards' frenzy. Just the other night, I had the pleasured to see an accomplished film for the second time: "Inside Man", and my jaw dropped when I realized that it was mysteriously absent in any "best of" celebrations. Regardless of what happens in about one year, audiences should not deny themselves the transcendental experience from seeing a movie that recognizes the beauty inside families and how their relationships are a mixture of inner and external pressures; only to all boil down to one word: Love.

As the title indicates, most of the storyline originates from a very peculiar name, and how it seems to affect the main protagonist. As the plot unfolds, we become involved in a sophisticated, almost flawless, and touching, without being maudlin masterpiece. With stunning camera work, a spiritual and moving score, and astounding performances by the entire cast, we learn to identify the universal values that this marvelous film highlights.

What is truly miraculous in the film is how its director weaves a story from the incongruities between two cultures that couldn't be any more different from each other, and yet, they are mirror reflections of each other. We all cry, feel happiness and disappointment. As our characters grow and change, we feel their sense of wonder, joy, and grief. Seeing them celebrate breaks down any resistance we might have to whatever foreign quality this movie might be. It's exotic, inviting, showing us that we share more than we think. In "The Namesake", a Russian name becomes essential to some of the tribulations of a Hindu American young man. It anchors the love that originates between a mother and her children. As Ashima adjusts to her new surroundings, she manages to hold on her traditions, as she learns to cope with the changes that she can't stop. In the end, she delivers one of the most inspirational speeches in movie history, and we can't do nothing but witness a superb dramatic performance come full circle. Many in Hollywood might feel a tinge of envy as her is an actress that charms us in spite of apparently not trying very hard. Her character is lovely, strong, and sometimes reads like a collection of the best moments in every female great role in the last century. She embodies the best of Scarlett O'Hara, the pain and frustration of Sophie in "Sophie's Choice", some of the regal qualities of Helen Mirren in "The Queen", and she can even sing and makes us laugh, all when a screenplay that addresses the lives of one regular family in New York.

"The Namesake" deserves every single of the kudos people decide to give it. It's a brilliant film, based on an outstanding piece of fiction, and that one that never struggles to be anything else but faithful to its source material, and whose heart never stops beating, with a real and magnificent heart.

Run and enjoy some of the best moments of your life.

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