Photo from Wikipedia.
I hadn't planned to post today, but I just saw another incredible film last night and had to write about it. I'm probably one of the last to see The Namesake, because it's been out for a while, but what a stunningly beautiful film. I haven't read the book, which was written by Jhumpa Lahiri, but now I really want to read it and get my hands on everything else she has written.
The film is about the most basic things in life - love, loss, family and friendship, but then it's also about country and cultural identity, regret, and understanding that only comes with time.
I'm a big fan of the Director, Mira Nair, who I've been watching since she directed Denzel Washington in Mississippi Masala. There are not that many female directors in Hollywood and for a woman of color also, she has really had to overcome a lot of obstacles. I've seen several of her movies, but I really need to go back and see them all. And she has a movie in pre-production that looks pretty interesting called New York, I Love You, which should be coming out this year. It's a movie that has many different directors and writers working on a several stories set in New York. I'll be looking forward to this one. It reminds me of the movie Paris, je t'aime, which I also just saw recently. Loved it!
But I digress. Back to The Namesake. The entire cast is wonderful. Could Tabu be any more gorgeous? All the music is beautiful, then the sudden break in the barbershop scene with Gogol. Very powerful.
That phone call in the middle of the night that pierces your heart. Out loud I was saying, "No, no, no!", when they got that call. And then later when Ashima is on the phone and she keeps having to spell her name over and over and she goes outside and I keep hoping someone will come help her. The loneliness that she goes through when she first arrives in the United States. It must be the hardest thing in the world to leave your country to go somewhere else. Especially when it's suddenly cold and icy. But I loved the relationship between Ashima and Ashoke. Even though they weren't all lovey dovey, they were very kind and tender towards one another.
I loved seeing Gogal and Sonali growing up. It reminded me of my family in some ways. My parents moved my brother and I from the city to the suburbs, where my brother and I grew up. We were one of very few black families living there. We would take lots of trips by car and stop at those rest areas for really good meals that my mom made for us. In a family photo album, there is a picture of my mom standing near the car holding my brother when he was a baby. It reminded me of the scene when Ashima is holding her new baby girl and Gogol and his father are walking out by the water.
More than anything, The Namesake is a film about a family. And whether you're Bengali or not, we can all relate to that.
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