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The Namesake

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sexuality/nudity, a scene of drug use, some disturbing images and brief language
not reviewed
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens, Adults
Comedy, Drama, Romance, Adaptation
2 hr. 2 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
March 9, 2007
Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.
Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.
Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.
Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.
Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.
Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.
Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.
Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.
Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.

What is true love and how do you know when you have found it? Answer

Racism, Racial Issues and Christianity
Get biblical answers to racial hot-topics. Where did the races come from? How did skin color come about? Why is it important to have a biblical foundation for such issues?
Sex, Love and Relationships
Learn how to make your love the best it can be. Discover biblical answers to questions about sex, marriage, sexual addictions, and more.
Featuring: Irfan Khan, Jagannath Guha, Ruma Guha Thakurta, Tabu, Sandip Deb, Sukanya, Tanusree Shankar, Sabyasachi Chakravarthy, Tamal Roy Choudhury
Director: Mira Nair—“Monsoon Wedding,” “Vanity Fair,” “Salaam Bombay!”
Producer: Lydia Dean Pilcher, Lori Keith Douglas, Anadil Hossain, Yukie Kito, Yasushi Kotani, Mira Nair, Ronnie Screwvala, arina Screwvala, Taizo Son
Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.

“Two Worlds. One Journey.”

Here’s what the distributor says about their film: “On the heels of their arranged marriage, Ashoke (Irrfan Khan) and Ashima (Tabu) jet off from steaming Calbutta to a wintry New York where they begin their new life together. Virtual strangers to one another and now living in what is to them a very strange land, their relationship quickly takes a turn when Ashima gives birth to a son. Under pressure to name him quickly, Ashoke settles on Gogol, after the famous Russian author—a name that serves as a link to a secret past and, Ashoke hopes, a better future.

But life isn’t as easy for Gogol as his parents might wish. As a first generation American teenager, Gogol (Kal Penn) must learn to tread a razor-thin line between his Bengali roots and his American birthright in the search for his own identity. As Gogol attempts to forge his destiny—rejecting his given name, dating a rich American girl (Jacinda Barrett), heading to study architecture at Yale—his parents cling to their Bengali traditions. But their paths keep crossing with both comic and painfully revelatory consequences… until Gogol begins to see the links between the world his parents left behind and the new world that lies in front of him.”

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See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer Comments
Comments below:
Positive—“He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing” De. 10:18.

I absolutely loved this film. “The Namesake” was a beautiful, poignant, and heartwarming view into life as a newcomer to this country, and how American “values” (i.e. individualism and materialism) can erode the connectedness of a family unit. Themes of kindness, perseverance and unconditional love were universal and ministered to me deeply. I found the drama to be intriguing, the performances refreshing and heartfelt, and the cinematography a beautifully contrasted view of Calcutta and New York. The views of the Taj Majal were especially magnificent, and brought home to me how His beauty and majesty is reflected in so many diverse peoples and cultures.

In many scriptures (too many to quote here), the Lord encourages us to be kind to the stranger in a strange land (Ex. 23:9, Le. 19:10, Le. 19:34, Le. 23:22, De. 10:18, etc., etc., etc.) God even puts the alien in same same category as widows and orphans (De. 27:19). I encourage all Christians to view this film, not only because it is excellent, but in order to Him to expand their understanding and love of immigrants to this country.
My Ratings: Good / 4½
—Karen, age 41
Neutral—The problem with this movie is family caring traditions all in a light of hinduism. If this site was Hindi Spotlight, well then, I would give it a moral rating of excellent. In my opinion, if someone in the middle of believing Christ watches this movie, he/she sees how calm, polite, caring people is every hindi and he/she starts to think how cool it would be to have such nice costumes and traditions. But that doesn’t lead towards Christ, but instead away from Him. If someone now started to think that isn’t any religion, just a path on top of the same mountain; that, also, isn’t Christianity; it’s called post-modernism.

Still, one thing in this movie was really good: It made me stop spending useless hours on my computer and instead I’m trying to get in touch with the people I love every day.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Jere K, age 27 (Finland)
Negative—Despite being extremely well-made and culturally informative, this film lacked any spiritual or moral substance. I did not learn anything of value, and it was not clear that the main character learned anything of value either. If for educational purposes, you are interested in learning about one person’s portrayal of secular Indian/Indian-American culture, values and traditions and you don’t mind:
* themes of promiscuity/pre-marital sex
* brief, but rather graphic sex scenes
* adultery
then go see it. Otherwise, don’t bother.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 5
—Jen, age 37
Comments from young people
Positive—I absolutely loved this film, it was beautifully made, and conveyed such strong messages about love, family, and tradition. As one who is not familiar with the customs and ceremonies displayed in the movie, they were terrifically presented and were very much like an immersion into the culture. The striking scenes of India, and the poverty of the inner city added to the sharp contrast between the two lives the characters had to adapt to—their cultural roots, and the new way of life in the states.

For those who are families of immigrants, or anyone who experiences the mixture (and oftentimes clash) of differing customs, this movie definitely hits home. Max’s and Gogol’s views on where the meaning of “family” begins and ends and what obligations friends have, or when they should simply give one space to recover was a very interesting problem in the story. Also morals such as loyalty to one’s spouse, and to one’s family are explored, and the honoring of traditions and parents' wishes. The story goes so deep into the different paths one can choose, and how they affect the course of life and happiness, that it is far too magnificent of a movie to pass up.

It is extremely sad, not incredibly up-lifting, but it leaves one with so much more to think of in the end. The most powerful scene was of the investigation of the train wreck, and when they discover Gogol’s father lying on the ground, barely alive, with the remnants of the book clutched in his hand, and he is the only survivor. This is the only instance of blood in the film, and there are a couple scenes involving partial nudity due to the theme of love throughout the story. Altogether, it is such a wonderful film, and I strongly recommend it to teenagers and adults.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 5
—Katie S, age 16