Dear Readers,

I now consider this blog to be my Juvenelia. Have fun perusing the archives, and find me at my new haunt, here.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Namesake

It's hard for me to write seriously about Mira Nair's version of The Namesake with Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle on TV in the background but I'm going to try (oh, Kal Penn!). "Did Doogie Howser just steal my fucking car?"

Let's see. To begin with the movie was a truly lovely adaptation of one of my favorite books ever. The performances were nuanced and the filming was rich... I had a few quibbles. I thought Jacinda barett's Maxine was weak--I always pictured Max as warm and sophisticated on the surface, cold WASP on the inside (and lookswise, sort of like a young Meryl Streep) not a bimbo. In other words, Gogol should like her for more than her looks and her giggles.

There were other little aspects of the adaptation that irked me, but judging how much of the film I watched with a lump on my throat, it did just fine.

What struck me more than anything else was the massive crowd at the Angelika on opening weekend; people lined up and packed into the theater. Lahiri's story seems to have a particular power over people. The book is one of the most universally-loved contemporary novels I've ever come across. Why is it so popular AND so critically-acclaimed? Because it's so poignant without being show-offy. There are no fancy words, no stream-of-consciousness asides, no wryly ironic bizarre plot twists, nothing but a story, and a simple, realistic one at that. A family. Relationships. The immigrant experience. It's all been done before, but Lahiri did it without inserting herself, the authoress, into the story. She let the story speak through her. And it touched people incredibly deeply. Particularly this person, who read it while recuping from pneumonia and still stayed up til 4 am bawling because it was that good.

So go see the movie! And then when you're done sobbing, rent Harold and Kumar. Thank you, come again!

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