Don't read this post if you're going to see The Namesake and you don't want your experience to be affected by my opinion of it. Don't worry, I won't give away any of the plot.
J. and I had been looking forward to this movie since we saw a trailer for it weeks ago. I loved the film of Vanity Fair, made by the same director. I didn't see Mississippi Masala. But The Namesake is another film where the trailer is much more coherent and affecting than the actual film. The folks who make trailers these days are very talented people!
It wasn't a downright awful film, but it suffered from the problem of so many film adaptations of novels: a structure that starts to feel like "and then this happened and then this happened and then this happened," etc. That said, there were plenty of really beautiful and moving images and sequences.
The actor who played the central character -- well, it's hard to say for sure if he's the central character, which is kind of a problem, plot-wise -- is great. Every moment that he's on screen feels true in a way that the film as a whole does not.