Lion: LFF Film Review

lion

You have been warned: take your tissues to see Lion because if you’re anything like me you’ll definitely need them. Many stories can make me tear up, but to full on cry (with tears rolling down my cheeks), that takes something special.

The film tells the real life story of Saroo Brierley, a five-year-old boy (played by Sunny Pawar) from a poor community in India who gets lost in Calcutta, hundreds of miles away from home. After being homeless for two months, he is adopted by Sue (Nicole Kidman) and John (David Wenham) in Tasmania, Australia. We fast forward 20 years when Saroo (now Dev Patel) is wracked with guilt that he is living a privileged life when his family could be going crazy trying to find him so he uses Google Earth to track them down using the extremely little information he has.

This is one emotional rollercoaster and you are invested in Saroo from the very beginning. Pawar is adorable and watching him frantically trying to find his brother when he gets lost is heartbreaking. He doesn’t know his surname, his mother’s real name, the name of his town and he can’t even speak Bengali. It feels hopeless and you can’t help but wonder how you would cope in that situation. He does a far better job than I would! I thought Pawar would serve as the prologue version of Saroo before Patel does the majority but no, he gets half the film and I’m so glad. Watching this cute kid covered in dirt, living rough and scavenging for food was so moving.

Patel wasn’t as captivating as Pawar but he was also brilliant on a more internal level. He cannot focus on his new life in Australia when he has convinced himself his family are still searching for him every day. He cannot let himself have an easy life, he must do something. Patel conveys that guilt so well and he impressed me with his Australian accent. His girlfriend Lucy (Rooney Mara) supports him but he pushes everything away while he pursues his search. Kidman is also amazing (as always) as his adoptive mother who worries about her sons. She is brilliant when she first meets Saroo as a kid.

The ending seriously pulls on the heartstrings and the tears would not stop flowing – seeing real pictures of the actual people just finished me off.

Seen as part of the 60th BFI London Film Festival. It is currently without a U.K. release date. 

Comments

  1. I wish I had read this review sooner…Lion is currently going to be at the New Orleans Film Festival, and I didn’t secure tickets for it!!

Trackbacks

  1. […] I actually saw in late 2015 and although I desperately wanted to put La La Land, Hacksaw Ridge, Lion and Free Fire on this list, they aren’t out until 2017, so unfortunately they don’t […]

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