With the Oscars a month away, movie lovers should find their way to a theater to see Lion while they still can.
Lion, written by Luke Davies, tells the true story of “Saroo Brierley.” Stunning performances by Sunny Pawar, Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman, under the direction of Garth Davis, make Lion a moving and hopeful work of art.
The first hour of the film tells the story of young Saroo, played by Pawar, after he becomes separated from his brother, “Guddu,” at a train station. While looking for his brother, Saroo boards an empty train and falls asleep. When he wakes up, the train has begun a days-long journey to Calcutta, India. When the train finally stops and Saroo gets off, he finds himself lost miles from home in a huge city where everyone speaks a foreign language.
From there, the film tells the story of his tumultuous experiences in various slums and orphanages in India until his adoption by an Australian couple, played by Nicole Kidman and David Wenham.
The latter half of the film follows Saroo as an adult, now played by Dev Patel, in Melbourne, Australia as he struggles to piece together his identity from fleeting images of his childhood. With the help of Google Earth, Saroo goes on an emotional trek to rediscover his past.
This true story, guided by tender and refreshing performances from Pawar, Patel, and Kidman could melt even the coldest heart. Patel and Kidman’s on-screen bond as mother and son reaches off of the screen with radiance rarely captured on film. Director Garth Davis is attentive and artful.
Prior to Lion, 8-year-old Sunny Pawar from Mumbai had never seen a Hollywood film, making his heartbreaking and complex performance as Saroo Brierley nothing short of a cinematic miracle.
The non-fictional aspects of the story are at times the only thread holding together the believability of the wildly inspirational and heartwarming tale. Lion, despite its heavy and sometimes dark images, comes together as a feel-good movie for the ages.