Movie Review: Lion

Movie review: Lion

I wanted to see Lion at a screening because of all the award nominations it has been receiving - Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman are up for both a SAG award and a Golden Globe for their work here. The movie did not disappoint, and the lush views of both India and Australia on-screen were a nice bonus, as well.

Young Saroo (Sunny Pawar) and his brother Guddu (Abhishek Bharate) are gathering things like coal to sell to support their family. Guddu is hesitant to bring Saroo along for a "night trip," but he does, and Saroo gets overwhelmed by it. Guddu leaves him on a bench in a train station, telling Saroo to stay there and that he will be back for him; when Saroo wakes up, however, Guddu is nowhere to be seen. Saroo finds an empty train and goes to sleep, not knowing that when he wakes up, the train will be in motion, and won't stop until it gets to Calcutta, about 1000 miles away from Saroo's hometown.

From there, Saroo wanders around a bit, until he finally ends up at an orphanage, where he's told that an Australian couple, the Brierleys (Nicole Kidman and David Wenham), want to adopt him. When he gets older, however, Saroo (Dev Patel) wonders about his biological mother, as well as his brother Guddu, and uses the relatively new tool Google Earth to try and find his hometown, and thus his family.

All of the acting was superb in this movie - I'm surprised that the child who plays Saroo, Sunny Pawar, isn't up for any awards, because he was very good, especially for someone that young. You may remember Dev Patel from The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel or Slumdog Millionaire, and he excels here; we can truly feel his anguish at not being able to remember details like the name of his hometown, or his mother's name. Rooney Mara also has a supporting role in the movie, too, as a classmate of Saroo's who later becomes his girlfriend.

Yes, see this movie, and bring tissues. The film is based upon the book A Long Way Home: A Memoir, by Saroo Brierley himself, and it's crazy that this is a true story: the story itself is very interesting. Interestingly enough, Patel is up for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, rather than a lead role; this could be because the first half of the movie focuses on young Saroo, and his journey in India, and after the movie flips to Australia for the second half, we finally meet adult Saroo. The movie itself is up for the Best Picture, Drama category, at the Golden Globes, as well. I highly recommend seeing this movie on the big screen, and it's one of the best films I've seen lately.

Lion is in theaters today, December 23rd, and is rated PG-13 with a runtime of 118 minutes. 4.5 stars out of 5.

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