Transnationalism and Relationships

The most interesting part of The Namesake, to me, was the way that they showed relationships, and the way that transnationalism affected the relationships in the film. It was very refreshing how balanced of a perspective the film offered on the topic. I would have expected a film like this to really push a specific belief on this idea, but I think it did a great job of presenting the issue from all angles.
The first relationship that this is a factor in is with Gogol and Maxine. This relationship is portrayed as very positive at first. There are some problems like backwards comments from guests at her parent’s party and some disapproval from Gogol’s parents, but at least for Max and Gogol, the relationship seems great. The cultural differences aren’t shown as a huge problem and her parents seem to like Gogol. This all changes with the death of Gogol’s father. This traumatic event is shown as a wakeup call for him. He shaves his head and starts prioritizing family a lot higher. This creates a lot of friction for him and Max. It wasn’t necessarily saying that Max was a bad person or selfish, but she really wasn’t being very understanding when his father passed. At this point in the film, it seemed like they were saying that the different backgrounds were actually too big of an obstacle.
If the film had ended here it would have had a lot less balanced of a message on the topic, but the relationship between Gogol and Moushumi added some perspective. They were both Benghali, so if the message had been less balanced everything should have worked out perfect for them. Instead this just provided a different sort of hardship to their relationship. Moushumi felt too much pressure to be “a good Benghali housewife.” Despite the two having similar cultural backgrounds, the relationship didn’t work. The relationship between Gogol’s sister and her non-Indian fiancée was also a bonus at the end. They were shown as being good together, and even the mother approved.


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