Movie Review: Lion (PG)
STARRING: Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, Rooney Mara, David Wenham, Sunny Pawar
DIRECTOR: Garth Davis
THE SKINNY: Based on the true story of Saroo Brierley (Patel and Pawar), who, at the age of five, falls asleep on a train and ends up in Kolkata , thousands of kilometres from his home. He is adopted by an Australian couple (Kidman and Wenham), but decides to look for his lost family 25 years later by tracking down his hometown on Google Earth.
This flick brought a tear to my eye.
In fact it was a few tears and a few times.
It's a story about a homeless kid, after all, and I don't think there's anything sadder. There are some tears there.
Later, after we meet the kid as a grown man struggling with his identity, it evokes a different sort of tears.
This sort of socially-conscious weepie isn't really my sort of thing, but it's hard not to be swept up in the emotion.
The fact that it's based on a true story makes it even more moving.
Some might say that films like Lion, films that aspire to raise awareness, don't have much of an impact in the real world. I think, taken collectively, they probably do.
Sometimes we need our art to remind us that the world can be cruel.
After watching Lion, I've been seriously thinking about things that I might do to make the world a better place.
Will I actually ever do anything? Who knows?
But I think that someone actually will do something. Maybe it's you.
Just taken as a film, se- parated from its lofty intentions, Lion is just okay.
It's melodramatic, unsubtle and manipulative, but that's fine.
In the end that sort of stuff, the finer points of dramaturgy, doesn't really matter. In the end what matters is how a movie makes you feel.
Lion made me feel something.
I'm a sucker for tearjerkers, and Lion is definitely one of them.
Losing one's family as a child is one of the most heartbreaking things that can happen to you.
Sure, at some level the movie's production team is gunning to make its audience cry. But at the same time, how can you not well up when a cute little boy is running around screaming "Mama"?
The young Pawar is an incredible actor, and Lion may do for him what Slumdog Millionaire did for Patel's career. Pawar is not only adorable, but charming and wise beyond his years.
I wouldn't have minded if the whole movie was about Saroo's childhood. Seeing the teeming streets of Kolkata from the perspective of a plucky kid makes it seem colourful, beckoning and frightening all at once.
But as Lion is all about grown-up Saroo's search for his family, Patel steps in to fill that role.
He is a cool dude, and I'm not just saying that because we had a chat about longboarding when I interviewed him once.
Patel has a rare intensity, and you really feel his character's longing for home and of despair when he thinks he may never find his mother.
Between Patel's handsomeness and the fascinating storyline, Lion was pretty close to perfect for me. The movie makes a strong case for adoption, especially given how many lost street kids there are in the world.
THE CONSENSUS: A moving story that has Oscar potential written all over it. It might even inspire you to do something for street children in need.