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"THE NAMESAKE"
(2007) (Kal Penn, Tabu) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Heavy Moderate Heavy Mild None
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild None None Mild Mild
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Heavy Moderate Extreme Heavy Moderate


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: Several generations of an Indian family try to make their way in America.
PLOT:
It's 1977 and having survived a train accident several years earlier, Ashoke Ganguli (IRFAN KHAN) agrees to wed Ashima (TABU) in an arranged marriage that transplants her from Calcutta to New York City, a world completely foreign to her. It's not long before they have kids, the first being given the temporary birth name of Gogol after Ashoke's favorite writer.

Years later, Gogol (KAL PENN) is a teen who gets grief from others about his name, unlike his younger sister, Sonia (SAHIRA NAIR). Even so, and due to being born in the states, both kids are far more comfortable with American culture than their parents.

Years later, Gogol's in college dating Maxine Ratcliff (JACINDA BARRETT), daughter of rich, socialite parents, exposure that seems to be removing him even further from his ancestral culture, at least in the eyes of his parents. When he eventually starts seeing Moushumi Mazumdar (ZULEIKHA ROBINSON), that goes over a bit better, due to the fact that she's also Indian.

From their arrival in America through the birth and raising of their kids, the Gangulis try to stay together as a family through various trials and tribulations that come their way during the intervening decades.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Unless they're interested in the Indian-American experience or are fans of someone in the cast, it doesn't seem likely.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For sexuality/nudity, a scene of drug use, some disturbing images and brief language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • IRFAN KHAN plays the patriarch of the Ganguli clan who brings his new bride to America, tries to get her accustomed to the new culture, and raises their kids with her. He's a bit disappointed in Gogol's attitude and smokes some.
  • TABU plays his wife who finds herself a fish out of water after marrying him and moving to New York where she knows no one and isn't used to the change in culture. She eventually raises their two kids and must contend with various changes in their family and lives.
  • KAL PENN plays their teenage and then twenty-something son who almost seems like a foreigner to them due to having grown up knowing American ways and culture. He briefly smokes pot in high school, has sex with two women before marriage, uses some profanity, drinks some, and is not appreciative of his father until it's too late.
  • SAHIRA NAIR plays his younger and equally rebellious teenage sister.
  • JACINDA BARRETT plays Gogol's college girlfriend with whom he has sex, although her selfish attitude at his time of grief eventually causes them to break up.
  • ZULEIKHA ROBINSON plays a fellow Indian educated in France who ends up sleeping with and marrying Gogol before then having an affair behind his back. She smokes and drinks some.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a brief summary of the content found in this drama that's been rated PG-13. Profanity consists of at least 3 "s" words, while a handful of other expletives and colorful phrases are also used. Various instances of married and non-married sexual activity are seen, including caressing, kissing and other such close contact, while woman stands completely nude in front of a man (we see her bare butt) before they have sex.

    The aftermath of a bad train crash is seen (dead and bloody bodies), while characters drink and/or smoke, and brief drug use (pot) is also present. Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes, including a wife who cheats on her husband, which leads to tense family material (that also includes several parental deaths).

    Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, there's a spin around camera shot looking up at an ornate ceiling. There's also some brief, handheld camera movement in the film.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • A man holds and then drinks from a flask on a train.
  • Gogol shares a joint with two other high school students.
  • People have wine, champagne, and drinks at a party.
  • Maxine's parents have wine.
  • Gogol and Maxine's family have wine in front of them.
  • Maxine's father holds a drink.
  • Moushumi has a martini, while Gogol orders a single malt.
  • Moushumi uses some wine in her cooking.
  • Gogol and Moushumi have champagne.
  • Gogol carries a bottle of wine to a party, and we then see him and others holding glasses of wine.
  • Gogol and his family have wine with dinner.
  • People have wine and champagne at a Christmas party.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We see Ashoke with bruises from a previous train accident.
  • Ashoke tells Gogol of the train accident from his past. We see the same brief footage as before (a sudden halt and chaos inside the car) and then the aftermath. That features train wreckage, dead and bloody bodies (mostly in shadows, so they appear more "wet" than bloody), and then a view of young Ashoke, injured and bloody.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Ashoke is briefly mad at Ashima for doing the laundry without his help and thus shrinking his clothes, but he then apologizes to her.
  • For unknown reasons, Ashoke is not present for the birth of his son, thus leaving Ashima alone to deal with the pain of labor (we don't see the delivery).
  • High school classmates make fun of Gogol's name when their teacher discusses his literary namesake, prompting him to give one "the finger."
  • Gogol is ungrateful to his father regarding a book the latter especially picked out for him as his high school graduation gift.
  • The family returns home to find some racist graffiti on their mailbox (dealing with their last name).
  • Although trying to be supportive, Maxine acts a bit selfishly in the aftermath of her boyfriend's father's death.
  • After Moushumi brings up Gogol's name, some adults at a party laugh at that. Later, Gogol is mad at her for bringing that up in front of others, and she then informs him that she turned down a teaching job in Paris so that she could be the "perfect" Indian wife to him.
  • Moushumi has an affair (not seen) while married to Gogol. He eventually discovers this (due to a slip of the tongue on her part) and they have it out.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • There's a sudden train accident, seen from inside it where there are brief views of sudden chaos. We then later see young Ashoke in bed with a neck brace and his leg elevated in a cast.
  • Ashoke tells Gogol of the train accident from his past. We see the same brief footage as before (a sudden halt and chaos inside the car) and then the aftermath. That features train wreckage, dead and bloody bodies (mostly in shadows, so they appear more "wet" than bloody), and then a view of young Ashoke, injured and bloody.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • None.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Oh sh*t," "Crazy girl," "Shut up," "Frickin,'" "What the hell's wrong with..." an incomplete "What the..." and "You sure as hell did."
  • High school classmates make fun of Gogol's name when their teacher discusses his literary namesake, prompting him to give one "the finger."
  • Gogol's teenage sister has a pierced nostril.
  • The family returns home to find some racist graffiti on their mailbox (dealing with their last name).
  • Moushumi has a tattoo on her ankle.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • None.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • A song had a lyric that had something to do with a backseat lover.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 3 "s" words, 2 hells, 2 uses of "God" and 1 use each of "Oh God" and "Oh my God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Ashima shows her bare midriff and a little cleavage as she's getting dressed.
  • We see an old shirtless man in a Laundromat.
  • Ashoke caresses Ashima's arms in bed as she sleeps, then her belly, and then his hand goes down inside some part of her clothing. They then passionately kiss, with him partially on top of her and their legs are intertwined (no nudity, but we hear some of her aroused sounds).
  • A song had a lyric that had something to do with a backseat lover.
  • We see Ashima's lower bare back as she wears traditional Indian garb.
  • We see Gogol and Maxine in bed, with her head on his bare chest. They then do some passionate kissing and he gets on top of her (both otherwise still in their bedclothes).
  • Gogol and Maxine do some passionate kissing on the porch where he's standing and she's seated on the railing with her leg up alongside him (both are clothed).
  • Maxine shows a little cleavage.
  • Gogol is surprised by how sexy Moushumi has become and stares at her (with the camera showing his focus, on her face, neck, etc.).
  • Gogol and Moushumi suddenly make out in the kitchen, and then we see them doing the same in the bedroom. Her bare back is seen and then a full rear view, as she stands naked in front of him. They then recline down onto the bed, but the scene ends there (with sex implied). We later see them in bed where she talks of her lovers in Paris. He wonders how many she had and she replies that he doesn't want to know. They then do some passionate kissing in bed.
  • We see Gogol and Moushumi seated on a bed in robes following their wedding. She playfully runs her foot up along his leg (up the robe) and he does the same with his hand to her leg, but she playfully stops him. After she does a little dance for him, they roll around on the bed in their robes, kissing and nuzzling. Later, and presumably after sex, he puts his hand on her butt that's covered by her silky lingerie.
  • Moushumi shows a fair amount of cleavage in a cocktail dress.
  • SMOKING
  • Ashoke and Moushumi each smoke a number of times (Moushumi is also seen doing so in a photo), while some miscellaneous and minor characters smoke (cigarettes and pipes) in a few scenes.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Ashoke is briefly mad at Ashima for doing the laundry without his help and thus shrinking his clothes, but he then apologizes to her.
  • For unknown reasons, Ashoke is not present for the birth of his son, thus leaving Ashima alone to deal with the pain of labor (we don't see the delivery).
  • Ashima states that she wants to go home (to India), but Ashoke says their baby will be better off in the U.S. with its opportunities.
  • Ashoke takes a call that Ashima's father has died back in India, and she reacts in grief.
  • Gogol is ungrateful to his father regarding a book the latter especially picked out for him as his high school graduation gift.
  • Ashima says she feels like she's losing her family again (with the kids grown up and gone).
  • Ashima worries about Ashoke (who's away in another city for six months teaching) when he calls from the hospital saying he went there with stomach pains. **SPOILER ALERT**
  • Ashima calls the hospital in another city looking for Ashoke and then gets the bad news that he died from a heart attack (thus causing a lot of grief on her part). Gogol gets the call from his sister, and reacts accordingly (including identifying the body in the morgue, visiting his apartment and crying on and over his father's unmade bed, and shaving his head to emulate his father having done the same when Gogol was just a boy). That's followed by a ceremony in their home, and then back in India where Ashoke's ashes are spread in a river.
  • After Moushumi brings up Gogol's name, some adults at a party laugh at that. Later, Gogol is mad at her for bringing that up in front of others, and she then informs him that she turned down a teaching job in Paris so that she could be the "perfect" Indian wife to him.
  • Moushumi has an affair (not seen) while married to Gogol. He eventually discovers this (due to a slip of the tongue on her part) and they have it out.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Arranged marriages.
  • That in India (according to the film), some people are given two names (a birth one and a later, permanent one).
  • How children of immigrants obviously assimilate easier to their country's culture than their parents do.
  • Ashima states that she wants to go home (to India), but Ashoke says their baby will be better off in the U.S. with its opportunities.
  • The comment of books being a form of travel where one doesn't have to move an inch.
  • Affairs.
  • Dealing with deaths in the family.
  • VIOLENCE
  • There's a sudden train accident, seen from inside it where there are brief views of sudden chaos. We then later see young Ashoke in bed with a neck brace and his leg elevated in a cast.
  • Ashoke tells Gogol of the train accident from his past. We see the same brief footage as before (a sudden halt and chaos inside the car) and then the aftermath. That features train wreckage, dead and bloody bodies (mostly in shadows, so they appear more "wet" than bloody), and then a view of young Ashoke, injured and bloody.



  • Reviewed March 9, 2007 / Posted April 13, 2007

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