Dir.: Mira Nair
Cast: Kal Penn (Gogol/Nikhil), Tabu (Ashima), Irrfan Khan (Ashoke), Jacinda Berret (Maxine), Sahira Nair (Sonia)
Script: Sooni Taraporevala
Length: 2hrs. 2 min
Verdict: SEE IT
Rating: PG-13 (Hmmm... A borderline PG-13. There's some stuff, but not too much)
Faithfulness Scale: 68% (Not too much missing, but not completely faithful)
Really good adaptation! Like the scale shows, not INCREDIBLY faithful text-wise, but spirit-wise, it's a completely faithful adaptation. Plus, all the important scenes are there, which is a plus! :)
First of all, the movie is GORGEOUS. All those sweeping shots of Calcutta and New York just completely took me by surprise. So, I do give Mira Nair credit for that. It might look like the scenes from a travel documentary, but they are better than that. And I'm sorry everybody who thought Girl With a Pearl Earring was great, but the movie actually makes Calcutta an attractive place to visit!
Besides that, everyone did great in their roles. Kal Penn was amazing as Gogol/Nikhil (he's not as good as you can't imagine anyone else in the role, but he's still really good). MY only problem with him, is that he's not really good to play a teenager. He sort of plays it off as dumb (Maybe he missed playing Harold in Harold and Kumar or something.) But other than that, when he played Gogol age 20-25, he did give Gogol a great emotional range. Irrfran Kahn and Tabu are wonderful playing the parents, and the supporting roles were good too. What's most important in the acting is that they stayed true to the spirit of the book, which is really important if you're not going to make it completely faithful. All the actors are very touching in these roles which what made them all work for me.
I acutally preferred the way the movie started out; with the parents in India, meeting each other for the first time, the accident, and the aftermath of moviing to America. The book was told in flashbacks, which I really enjoyed, but sometimes seemed too long and take up too much room. With the flashbacks told first, it started off on the right pace in chronological order, without the need to replay them througouht the movie. Which is a good thing, because, this movie is WAAAY too long at 2hrs and 2min. It had to shave off at least 30 minutes. It's nice to see Indian lifestyles vrs. the American lifestyle, but the scenes just go on too long. However, this is a really faithful adaptation, it will please fans, it will touch people, and it's a good-hearted adaptation. I LOVED it!