The Namesake

Rated 5.0

Director Mira Nair and writer Sooni Taraporevala (adapting Jhumpa Lahiri’s novel) tell the story of an Indian-American family—immigrant parents (Irfan Khan and Tabu) and American-born son (Kal Penn)—as they try to adjust to their new life, their heritage and one another. Sprawling over 30 years, the movie seems almost unfocused for the first half hour or so, but in time it becomes clear that the focus is razor-sharp. Nair and Taraporevala carefully lay out their apparently haphazard story elements, weaving an emotional mosaic of impressionistic vignettes, revisiting incidents that we see again with new eyes; we find new resonance in them for the characters. Kal Penn, playing a three-dimensional person at last, is appealing and credible. The whole movie is wonderful, an intimate family epic.