LION – A Review by John Strange

Dev Patel stars in LION
By: John ‘Doc’ Strange
Every year thousands of children disappear from the streets of the cities of India.  Many are never seen again.  Others are sent out of the country to be adopted by couples all over the world.  Lion is the story of one of these children.
At five years old, Saroo (Sunny Pawar), lives with his mother Kamla (Priyanka Bose), older brother Guddu (Abhishek Bharate), and his baby sister Shekila.  His mother makes a living by collecting rocks.  Saroo helps his brother sneak aboard a train to steal coal to sell in the local market for milk.
Following this successful heist, Saroo convinces Guddu to take him along when he goes into the city for a week to lift bales.  Traveling by bicycle in the dead of night, Saroo arrives unable to stay awake to go to the job site.  Guddu leaves his little brother asleep on a bench at the train station and goes to work.
Saroo awakens and calls for his brother.  Her begins to walk around while calling out to no avail.  While aboard an empty train, Saroo has gotten sleepy again and fallen asleep on one of the seats. He awakens to find he is alone on a moving train.  The train trip lasts 2 days and deposits him in the train station in Calcutta, some 1600 miles from his home!
His experiences in Calcutta are harrowing until he is picked up by the police.  He doesn’t know his last name and only knows his mother as, “Mum”.  After circulating his photo for many months, Saroo is adopted by a couple from Australia, John Brierley (David Wenham) and his wife, Sue (Nicole Kidman).
For the next 25 years, Saroo (Dev Patel) lives a good life.  He attends university, meets the woman of his dreams, and loves his adopted parents.  However at the back of his mind is the fact that he misses his first family.  He simply has no idea where they are.  His memory of the name of the village‘s name just isn’t accurate.
Saroo’s search for his home and family begins to take more and more of his time and attention.  That search is why this story is so riveting.  Saroo uses every tool in his toolbox but progress is slow.  When his girlfriend, Lucy (Rooney Mara), learns of the search she helps to refine his search but it is still slow going.
I love stories like this, true facts that are fictionalized only enough to re-enact the events and move the story along at a good pace.  When Saroo enters the village of his birth, I joined the women in the audience and spent the remaining minutes of the film crying into my handkerchief.
This is an excellent film.  It is not only my opinion in this case.  Lion has four Golden Globe nominations:
Best Motion Picture – Drama
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture: Dev Patel
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture: Nicole Kidman
Best Original Score – Motion Picture
Go see it and remember to grab napkins should you forget YOUR handkerchief at home.
Directed by: Garth Davis
Cast: Sunny Pawar, Abhishek Bharate, Priyanka Bose, Khushi Solanki, Shankar Nisode
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for thematic material and some sensuality.)
Selig Rating: A
Runtime: 120 Min.
Movie Site:
The Selig Rating Scale:
A – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
B – Good movie
C – OK movie
D – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
F – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn't paid for it.
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