Dan's Review: "Lion" a beautiful story of hope
Dev Patel in Lion - © 2016 The Weinstein Company.
Lion (The Weinstein Company)
Rated PG-13 for thematic material and some sensuality.
Starring Dev Patel, Sunny Pawar, Rooney Mara, David Wenham, Nicole Kidman, Abhishek Bharate, Divian Ladwa, Priyanka Bose, Deepti Naval, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Nawazuddin Siddiqui.
Written by Luke Davies, based on “A Long Way Home” by Saroo Brierley Larry Buttrose.
Directed by Garth Davis.
There are millions of orphans and lost children in the world. Chances are, you will never meet one or rarely know their stories. While heartbreaking, it’s good to know that there is some redemption for lost souls who, by no choice of their own, find themselves, hungry, lost, abandoned or orphaned. Lion is the true story of Saroo Breirley, a young boy from India who became separated from his family and carted off to another part of the country where he was forced to live as an orphan.
Saroo is played by two incredible actors: Sunny Pawar as a little boy and Dev Patel as an adult. His story begins as he helps his brother Guddu (Abhishek Bharate) search for food for their family, including the boys’ single mother Kamla (Priyanka Bose), who cares for them in their small home. One night, the boys get separated, and Saroo looks for his brother on an empty train car. He falls asleep, and train doors close, transporting Saroo more than 903 miles from home. Forced to live on the streets, Saroo is eventually brought to an orphanage, where is eventually adopted by John and Sue Brierley (David Wenham and Nicole Kidman), and Australian couple living in Hobart, Tasmania. The Brierleys adopt a second Indian orphan with behavioral problems, and they grow into adulthood. Saroo goes to college were he meets an American named Lucy (Rooney Mara) and falls in love. Despite his good fortune, Saroo is haunted by memories of his lost family, knowing that they would never would have stopped looking for him. He eventually begins retracing his journey via Google Maps, seeking out any resemblance of his boyhood home. Saroo is eventually led to the train station where he fell asleep more the 25 years prior, but will he be able to find his family?
Lion (and I won’t spoil the significance of the film’s title) is a beautiful, heart-wrenching story of hope that was produced magnificently, with outstanding performances by the entire cast. I want to single out three performances, especially. Dev Patel’s portrayal of a man haunted by his past and torn apart by the family he barely knew is one of the best of the year. Nicole Kidman’s portrayal as a mother willing to give so much of herself for those who have nothing is outstanding. Sunny Panwar’s performance is especially heart-warming as a little boy, lost. He is so adorable and as you watch the movie, you can’t help but want to take him into your own home.
It’s not just the actors who make Lion one of the best films of the year. The cinematography, editing and script are also top-notch and should be considered for awards season honors.
If you want to feel good about humanity in these troubling times, I suggest that Lion is the perfect cure for what ails you.