Review: Lion (2016)

A few words of advice: if you’re going to watch this movie, bring along some tissues, because you’re about to go on an emotional rollercoaster.

Lion stars Dev Patel and accounts the true story written in Saroo Bierley’s memoir A Long Way Home. It’s about a 5-year-old boy named Saroo who gets lost over a thousand kilometers from home. As he is unable to properly recall his hometown, he has no way of going home, and an Australian couple ends up adopting him. Twenty years later, he begins his quest to find home.

Lion was such a beautiful and heartwarming film, and the fact that it’s based on a true story is unbelievable. It really seems too perfect to be true.

I thought all the actors gave stunning performances. I was especially impressed with Sunny Pawar, who played 5-year-old Saroo. He was truly amazing for his age. Dev Patel was also brilliant, showing much emotion and fitting the character well. Nicole Kidman played Saroo’s Australian adopted mother, Sue. She effectively took the role of a caring foster mother who cared deeply for her family and kids, even though they shared none of her blood.

One of the main themes in the movie is family ties. Saroo grows to love his Australian foster parents and creates a strong bond with them, but he knows that he can never forget where he actually comes from and his birth family. No matter how far the distance and how much he’s changed, he will always be connected to them.

Privilege is also an interesting part of the film. Saroo comes from a poor family in a poor village. His mother is illiterate and she makes money by moving rocks. They live in a small hut, and can barely afford to eat. Once Saroo moves to Australia, we see a stark contrast between life in a developing part of India and the privileged people in a fully-developed part of the world. Now he’s got a television, lots of clothes to wear, and plenty of food in the fridge. It’s a such a big difference. When Saroo returns to India after twenty years, it’s as if he doesn’t belong, even though he was born and spent five years of his life there. Maybe it’s just Dev Patel, but the freshly groomed hair and even his plain t-shirt and jeans appear fancy among the Indian villagers.

Lion is wonderfully emotional drama that immerses you in the life of a boy who has lost his home. I would recommend it to anyone who is ready and willing to feel intense feelings of sadness, despair, hope, and joy all within two hours.

Best,

Angie

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