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The Namesake

No such luck
By PETER KEOUGH  |  March 15, 2007
2.5 2.5 Stars

VIDEO: Watch the trailer for The Namesake

Many local fans of Jhumpa Lahiri’s novel The Namesake especially enjoyed the details of its Cambridge setting. No such luck with Mira Nair’s adaptation: Gogol Ganguli (Zak Penn) starts life with his Bengali parents Ashoke (Irfan Khan) and Ashima (Tabu) in a generic New York City, a blurring of specificity that drags on the film from the start. Thereafter, Nair dutifully recounts the travails and adjustments of immigrants and their children over several decades, with Gogol bearing the additional challenge of his name, a nod to his father’s love of, and debt to, the brilliantly bizarre Russian author. The clash between cultures and the vagaries of identity unfold in sometimes colorful anecdotes, none resonant. Mortality intrudes in the form of timely heart attacks, and long before one of Ashima’s American friends counsels her to “follow her bliss,” it’s become clear that this mild family melodrama owes little to the namesake of the title.
Related: Rooted, Giving good gimmick, Spring loaded, More more >
  Topics: Reviews , Zak Penn, Jhumpa Lahiri, Mira Nair
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