Lion (2016 The Weinstein Company, Transmission Films, Entertainment Film Distributors)
Starring Dev Patel, Rooney Mara, David Wenham, Nicole Kidman.
Directed by Garth Davis.
Producers: Iain Canning, Angie Felder, Emile Hershman.
Story by Saroo Brierley and Larry Buttrose. Screenplay by Luke Davies.
Cinematography by Greig Fraser. Edited by Alexandre de Franceschi.
Five year old Saroo gets lost on a train which takes him thousands of miles across India, away from home and family. Saroo must learn to survive alone in Kolkata, before ultimately being adopted by an Australian couple. Twenty five years later, armed with only a handful of memories, his unwavering determination, and a revolutionary technology known as Google Earth, he sets out to find his lost family and finally return to his first home.
This will be the shortest and rawest movie review I’ve ever written, so please bear with me. It’s not because I’ve got Oscars fatigue. It’s because this movie struck such a chord in me that I don’t really know how to put in words how it made me feel. It was emotional, fascinating and gripping, from beginning to end. Saroo’s “journey” (if you want to call it that) for the first half of the film was heartbreaking to watch. A five-year-old boy falls asleep on a train and wakes up half a world away and wants nothing more than to go home to his “Mum.”
Lion is a story of survival, of personal discovery and of learning to cope with your own past; even when you don’t know what your past is.
Dev Patel was, as always, great. But the little boy who played five-year-old Saroo, Sunny Pawar, was really fantastic. His scenes with Abhishek Bharate, who played Saroo’s older brother Guddu, were simply perfect.
Truly, the entire film is perfect. Visually stunning, emotionally wrenching and unflinchingly realistic, Lion may very well be the best picture of 2016.
****-1/2 stars (out of five)