Lion (2016)

“If you have ever been a child, raised a child, lost a child or met a child — or any of the above with respect to a mother — this movie will wreck you.” – A.O Scott, The NYtimes. 


There hasn’t been a film in a while that I would really push people to see… but this one is a must watch regardless. This film is about a 5 year old boy names Saroo who gets separated from his brother when they go to do night work in a rural area in India, he finds himself lost for 25 years and once he gets a second chance at life, he retraces all those steps to find where he came from. Oh… and it’s a true story which makes it even worse.

This story is so unbelievably amazing it’s almost too surreal to be real? Like knowing it’s a true story and knowing that someone actually lived this life is just crazy.  The hardest part of the story was the beginning because it showed Saroo’s lifestyle with his family and shortly in the next scene, he was all alone on a train which travelled 1600km east to Calcutta! The second half of the film is all about Saroo’s adult life and how he came about finding who he was, using google maps to track his home town from a memory he remembered when being 5 years old.  It can be either a difficult watch or not, depending how you view it, you can either look at the tough lifestyle Saroo had to deal with for so many months like being homeless, being snatched and going into an orphanage. This will bring serious heartfelt emotions and sympathy towards the viewer, or you can look at it from Saroo’s persona and look through the devastation by praising his strength and determination to ‘keep calm and carry on’.

The performance of Saroo’s character played by Sunny Pawar and Dev Patel is incredible. They both portrayed the same emotions of Saroo’s journey from childhood to adulthood and considering Sunny had never acted before, his acting was so natural and felt real. He is also sooo cute. Dev Patel also gave a very heart warming performance, from when he found love with Lucy (Rooney Mara) to when he was reunited with his mother at the end. I watched some behind the scenes with Sunny and Nicole Kidman and they seemed to have a really special relationship on set which I think really came across on film.

Garth Davis directed this film and he’s a great lover of location, therefore within the film theres a great use of drone shots showing ariel panoramas of the Indian and Australian landscapes. This is also a cost effective way of shooting film now as drones are more compatible, cost-effective and easier to control than jibs. Greig Fraser was the DOP and he shot ‘Lion’ with Arri Alexa cameras, (obviously very expensive 😬) and also used handheld camera for certain shots which created jittery and more natural movements to show the story from Saroo’s POV. So there are plenty of mid-long shots during the beginning of the film – to ultimately show India’s environment. It also connotes to the sense of being lost as there is alot of space in the frame showing the bare, withered surroundings. In the second half, there are alot more close ups to create the tense climax of Saroo retracing his roots. The close ups of the google maps really helps to build this as it gives hope to the story. The close up of him telling Lucy that he’s finally found home was a real tear-jerker because after 25 years he can finally start that missing chapter in his life.

Overall, this film will have everyone crying at the end, if not most of the whole way through because it’s such an empowering story and it makes great realisation to people to appreciate what you have! It’s definitely up there with good old ‘Marley and Me’ which is the day 1 film that will have you balling with tears. It’s such an inspirational film that has such a powerful message that it changes the way you look at things after you watch it. And of course your heart goes out to the real Saroo for sharing his incredible story.

IMDB – 8.1/10

My rating – 4.5/5*



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