Thursday, January 19, 2017

Lion: Movie Review


Beautifully touching, deeply affecting film of hope, tragedy and triumph.
The true story that Lion is based on is one of those tug-at-your-heart-strings, clear-your-tear-ducts type of stories that you hope is more uplifting than just sad. That’s one of the things about Lion that stands out the most: it never concentrates on the sad or heart-string-y moments. It focuses on the interesting moments and just enough of everything else to make it emotionally-satisfying and not emotionally-draining. It’s a story so sincere and honest that Lion will stick to your heart. 2016

Directed by: Garth Davis

Screenplay by: Luke Davies
Based on the book by Saroo Brierley

Starring: Dev Patel, Sunny Pawar

There are two parts to the story, 25 years apart, and both parts are told so well that your heart aches for the lead character at all time, no matter what age is currently on the screen. In 1986, Sunny Pawar plays Saroo; he’s a little boy, tagging along with his older brother to scrape together money for their family. Saroo and brother Guddu are separated, Saroo falls asleep waiting for him, and finds himself on a train in Calcutta, over 2000-km away.

Young Saroo Brierley (Sunny Pawar) in LION, an Entertainment One release. Photo credit: Tony Mott
Lost and terrified, Saroo survives long enough to get to an orphanage and get adopted by an Australian couple. There is a lot of heartache in this movie, but there’s also a lot of love.

Dev Patel plays the older Saroo, a grown man in his twenties. This is the type of performance that wins Oscars. It’s a searingly honest portrayal of a young man who has it all, but is still lost. He was given a family who had the money to get him an education, he earned his education, he got a job, he has a girlfriend, and he has parents who love him and rescued him. But Saroo’s right, he wasn’t exactly rescued. When he was lost in Calcutta, he was trying to find his way back home, to his home, to his real family that he remembers, but he never got there. He’s still lost. He shows us the conflict of not wanting to hurt his new family but refusing to give up hope that he can still get back to his birth. He also knows if he ever gets there, he’s going to have to make a touch choice.

Lion is the type of movie that could easily go off the rails into maudlin, overly-sentimental territory, but every detail is established perfectly and director Garth Davis made all the right choices to keep this a beautifully touching, deeply affecting film of hope, tragedy and triumph.