The Namesake (2006, Mira Nair)

Ashouk marries Ashima and takes her to NYC where they have kids Gogol and Sonia. Gogol is frustrated from having a funny name, dates a rich girl for a while, ends up marrying another girl who leaves him for her French ex. Changes his name from Gogol to Nikhil, confused by his parents’ choice of name until his dad finally tells him about the Gogol-reading train-accident that originally led him to the States.

Movie never gets bogged down in story, constantly exploring its theme of living in a foreign country, of cultural differences, leaving and returning home, families split and together. Uses color and music, costumes and props to develop further… every element serves the themes and characters perfectly. Lots of movies attempt this “foreigner moves to new place, sees it from a fresh outsider perspective, finds similarities between cultures/people, eventually fails/succeeds to fit in” idea, but hardly any have succeeded with such a smart, human story. I fell for it completely.

Saw again with Katy, still love it, she liked it too. Says the filmmakers seemed to have more compassion for the characters than the author of the novel.

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