||Like her previous films VANITY FAIR, MONSOON WEDDING, and HBO's HYSTERICAL BLINDNESS, Mira Nair's THE NAMESAKE is a lush, beautiful film bursting with rich color and visual texture. Based on the bestselling book by Jhumpa Lahiri, the film follows two generations of the Ganguli family. After wedding via an arranged marriage, Ashima (Tabu) moves with Ashoke (Irrfan Khan) from her native Calcutta to New York. As Ashima struggles to adjust to life in her new home, a true love grows between the newlyweds. When they give birth to Gogol (who does not learn the true origin of his name until adulthood), the Gangolis decide to stay in American for their child's sake, settling in the suburbs and eventually giving birth to a daughter, Sonia (Sahira Nair). While Ashima and Ashoke attempt to balance their new life with Indian traditions, their children have the very different experience of being raised first-generation Americans. With little interest in their ancestry, both Gogol and Sonia disappoint their parents by having little respect for the sacrifices their parents made for them. Gogol's desire to change his name, and his relationship with a wealthy American girl (Jacinda Barrett), places a strain on the family which Gogol will later regret.^Here, Penn proves he can play a serious role while still using his comedic skills to great affect. The actor shows impressive range in growing a clueless teen to a man his father would be proud of. Nair's skill at directing can be felt in the film's many great performances. Both Tabu and Irrfan Khan embody their characters so fully that the viewer really feels a personal connection to the story. As the head of the household, Khan's character will subtly make viewers laugh while breaking their heart. Packed with unique characters, THE NAMESAKE offers audiences an outlet into Bengali traditions and the immigrant experience while telling a universal story of family bonds which all parents and children should connect with. Nair excels in what is her most personal work to date.