Review: Lion (2016)

For one year now, I have been anxiously awaiting the official release of this film because I couldn’t wait to watch it again. I was fortunate enough to attend a screening of this movie at the end of 2015 while the film was still a work in progress to give feedback and comments. As with everyone else in that audience, I went into it not knowing what to expect and left deeply touched by the story we watched unfold.

Sunny Pawar as Saroo

Based on the true account of Saroo Brierly written in A Long Way Home, the film is about young Saroo in India who gets lost, and ends up being adopted by a couple in Australia. 25 years later, Saroo begins the arduous journey to find the family he lost with all the determination, yet very little information.

Instead of relying on flashbacks to tell the story, Director Garth Davis chose to stick to a linear narrative which he believes was the best way to have the audience experience this journey alongside Saroo. It’s not a story of Saroo remembering his childhood, he remembers every detail and so flashbacks would not have served the story (KCRW Interview with Garth Davis – Dec 19, 2016).

In telling the narrative in this manner, you’re right there with Saroo every step of the way as the emotion continually builds and you feel connected to his story. This of course is also thanks to the incredible young actor, Sunny Pawar, who portrays young Saroo. Majority of the film is spent with young Saroo whose resilience keeps him alive.
Actor Dev Patel as the older Saroo Brierly has the incredible ability to manifest the internal emotional struggle of this character in a tangible way on screen. Along with Nicole Kidman, who plays Saroo’s adoptive mother Sue Brierly, showing the compassion and love her character has for her son.

Dev Patel as Saroo Brierly

This once in a lifetime true story will break your heart. The impact of this story stayed with me for well over a year, and I imagine that will continue.

Beyond Saroo’s story, the harsh reality for many orphaned children in India is shown. At the end, a message informs the audience that over 80,000 children go missing in India each year. A link to the official movie site shows a way everyone can help donate to organizations which work to protect children in India.
Donate direct here to financially support the charitable organizations of Magic Bus and Railway Children India.


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