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Summary: Spanning two generations, two clashing cultures and two very different ways of life that crash into each other only to become lovingly intertwined, The Namesake is ultimately about the imminently relevant question: what does it mean to be an American family? (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
It's moderately interesting to see commonplace generational conflicts play out amongst a family that has a different cultural background that those usually afforded a place on the flickering screen, but the seeming attempt to instill a sense of universality to their issues robs the film of the unique flavor that should be its greatest strength. It would help if Penn were up to the dramatic challenges of the central role. He's an amiable presence, but the breadth and depth needed is beyond him.
A good drama, well-acted (with a rare dramatic turn from Kal Penn) and well-made, although its flaw lies in trying to condense a larger, more elaborate novel into movie length. At risk of being a "the book is better" snob, the book is better, but it's still worth watching.
Suffers from an inconsistent tone. I feel like Nair wasn't sure how to translate the novel into a cohesive film and instead just presents a "greatest hits" of cliché scenes. Although there are a few intriguing moments, it lacks a distinctive voice and sometimes smacks of mediocrity. But it is a NICE movie, and sometimes nice is enough. If it doesn't do anything new, at least it does it competently enough to mold a cast of likeable, reasonably well-rounded characters whose journey is satisfying.
I appreciated that the main characters in this film were all well-rounded human beings. I very much enjoyed the perspective of the father attempting to pass on his values to the son. The America he wanted his son to have has created a rift in their family, since opportunity comes with rampant individualism. I also appreciated the film's honesty about the loneliness, but also comfort, that comes with living in this country. I suspect the novel is a richer experience, but the film was plenty good.
A good film - well directed - well acted by the main characters - other characters that matter make a mark atleast at one point in the narrative. Well worth the watch if you are interested in the issues of identity around uprooting and replanting of the life of an immigrant.
Nice concept but I expected more from this film. I enjoyed the interaction between the husband and wife and didn't care for the Kal Penn character. The first hour of the film was much better than the second.
This is quite a bit different from the usual Asian-American cultural identity thing, but I can see some disagreeing. What I like about this is how genuinely annoyed the main character is with his parents and yet how genuinely affectionate he is toward them. There's some good acting here, and some nice visuals. I say it's worth a rental, especially if you like films like The Joy Luck Club and The Debut.