Tony's Take

LION review

lion-posterThe True Story of a Life Lost and Found

“Lion” follows the miraculously-true story of a young man who sets-out to find his missing family.  As a child, young Saroo went off on an adventure with his brother, Guddu.  That night Saroo, then a five year old, fell asleep on a parked train, but awoke to find that train thousands of miles away from home, halfway across the country.  Struggling to find his way back home without knowing the name of his town, Saroo narrowly-avoids being kidnapped and is sent to an orphanage.  He becomes one of the lucky ones and is soon adopted by a lovely Australian couple, John and Sue Brierley.  As he grows, Saroo lives a successful life, exited to move-on to a new job to become a Hotel concierge.  As he begins to remember is childhood, he becomes more and more obsessed with finding his family, a task he hopes to accomplish using a recent technological advancement, Google Earth.

Dev Patel stars as Saroo, the young man who was adopted from India by John and Sue Brierley.  Patel once again proves his talent, commanding the screen as he showcases a wide range of emotions.  Sunny Pawar is a bright addition as the young Saroo.  Rooney Mara plays Saroo’s girlfriend, Lucy.  David Wenham and Nicole Kidman plays Saroo’s adopted parents, John and Sue Brierley.  Abhishek Bharate plays Saroo’s older biological brother, Guddu Khan.  Divian Ladwa plays Saroo’s adopted brother, Mantosh.  Priyanka Bose plays Saroo’s biological mother, Kamla Munshi.  Deepti Naval plays Saroj Sood, the Founder of the Indian Society for Sponsorship and Adoption (ISSA).

“Lion” is a deeply moving and courageous journey, one that takes a little too long to establish but its’ payoff more than makes-up for it.  The film relies-heavily on the shoulders of two actors: Sunny Pawar and Dev Patel.  “Lion” only works due to their courageous and endearing performances; as the audience truly feels the feelings of Saroo.  It’s another very strong turn for Patel, one that will hopefully fuel his career further and Pawar’s adorable performance will certainly have people taking-notice.  Its’ supporting cast is also quite strong; Nicole Kidman breaks-your-heart as Saroo’s loving adopted mother and Mara gives a nice turn as Saroo’s girlfriend.  The film also serves as an eye-opener for some (myself included).  I had no idea how many Indian children go missing every year, the focal point of the film.  The film’s cinematography is beautiful, featuring stunning landscape after stunning landscape as it fits the narrative.  Besides being a true story, what makes “Lion” so incredible is that it doesn’t focus on the endgame.  We see the reasons why Saroo was so intent on finding his family after so long, we see the raw determination and the impact it had on his life and the lives of those around him.  As the film’s final moments begin, one can’t help but to feel but hopeful and scared of what he may find; a sure sign that Director Garth Davis more than accomplished and did-justice to Saroo’s incredible journey.  “Lion” has a run time of 118 minutes and it takes a while to get the film moving due to its slow pace.  Many moviegoers will overlook “Lion” this year unfortunately, but it’s a very well-acted, inspirational and powerful true story that is sure to warm the heart during the coldest time of the year!  And as you patiently wait for the film’s title to be explained, be ready for a pure moment of unexpected joy!

“Lion” follows the incredible true story of Saroo, as he attempts to track-down his biological family years-after being adopted.  The film features an arsenal of strong performances, a wide array of emotion, and an impossibly-true journey.  If you are heading to the movies this weekend, be sure not to overlook “Lion”!   

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LION is rated PG-13 for thematic material and some sensuality, in theaters DECEMBER 23RD!

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