In July 2006, I reviewed the book. I wrote, "The Namesake is fully fleshed out and a heartbreaking, engrossing read. Lahiri was clearly honing her craft with her earlier short stories but I'd take the novel anytime. I look forward to the upcoming film adaptation because nothing says drama like the dude from Harold and Kumar."
Unfortunately my joke about Kal Penn turned out to not to be true. He was fine and all but he just doesn't have the acting chops to pull off this role. Maybe the film needed more narration from Gogol to give us a sense of what he was thinking. If not, the movie needed a better actor to show us how he was feeling non-verbally. Nair must have thought that Penn was subtly doing that throughout the movie but he wasn't. If I hadn't read the book, I don't think I would have had much of a sense what the character was about.
That being said, the movie still got to me. I must have teared up a half dozen times. What a tear-jerker! Irfan Khan played Gogol's father and he was amazing in the role. Anytime he was on the screen, he carried it. There were many great little moments in the film, some of which I don't remember from the book, like the one where Gogol's mom tries on her soon-to-be husband's shoes before meeting him for the first time.
Overall, this is a solid but not all that inspiring adaptation of a very good book.
Directed by Mira Nair
Phillies 9 Mets 4
1 week ago