If you’re looking for a film that will ultimately touch your heart and leave you in tears, then Lion is definitely the winning ticket.
Lion chronicles the true story of Saroo Brierley (Dev Patel), a young boy who one day found himself stranded hundreds of miles from his home in the city of Calcutta. After surviving the hardships of the streets he is eventually placed in an orphanage, and adopted by an Australian couple. While he ultimately adapts to his new homeland successfully, it isn’t until years later that he finds himself drawn back to the memories of his former life in India, and begins an extraordinary journey to find his home and the life he left behind.
Watching Lion, you find yourself totally drawn into this phenomenal true story that is beyond anything that fiction could ever conjure up. Saroo’s tale is like a modern tale of Oliver Twist, and director Garth Davis doesn’t shy away from the hardships that this young orphan suffered on the streets of Calcutta. The level of poverty and injustice is particularly heartbreaking, but no matter how dark Lion gets, Davis is always able to bring out the eternal light of hope that seems to guide Saroo in his quest.
Star Dev Patel is a complete revelation in the leading role. The young actor completely disappears into the character, pulling off one of the most believable performances I’ve seen for a long while. His Australian accent and mannerisms are absolutely spot on, and while he may be a very proper British lad in real life, Patel sure makes one hell of a convincing Aussie. There are both highs and lows to Saroo’s journey, and throughout the film Patel’s performance never waivers.
While Patel might be the star, it’s newcomer Sunny Pawar who completely steals the film, as well as your heart, as the younger Saroo. His authenticity and ease in the part really draw you in during the film’s first act, and I’m sure he has a long career ahead of him. Also providing terrific support are Nicole Kidman and David Wenham, as Saroo’s adoptive parents Sue and John Brierley. Kidman in particular is breathtaking, and the penultimate scene where she discusses the events surrounding Saroo’s adoption is an especially emotional scene. Rooney Mara also makes an appearance as Saroo’s on again/off again girlfriend Lucy, who provides vital support and belief in this young man’s life when the world seems to be completely falling down around him.
Lion is an emotional roller coaster from beginning to end, but one that heavily weighs in on the importance of family and the power of hope.
Image: EOne Films