Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Movie Review: Lion

The beautiful true story of Saroo's search for his missing mother and brother inspires the powerful movie Lion directed by Garth Davis. Young Saroo (Sunny Pawar) works with his brother Guddu (Abhishek Bharate) to earn money for his family to eat. When he decides to go with his brother to a night job, he ends up trapped on a train that takes him across India, too far away to find his family again but stuck into a system of orphan children. Eventually, he finds his way to adoption and grows up in Australia. 

The remarkable journey of the young boy takes up the first half of the movie and it so amazing to watch as the boy survives harsh conditions. The beginning contrasts with the privileged upbringing that consists of the second half. After Saroo survives nearly being sold into sex slavery and a harsh orphanage he is finally adopted by an Australian family. John (David Wenham) and Sue Brierley (Nicole Kidman) adopt Saroo and raised him along with his brother Mantosh (Divian Ladwa). 

All grown up Saroo (Dev Patel) begins to remember his past and with the invention of Google Earth begins to explore the area where his long childhood train ride might have originated. He strikes up a relationship with Lucy (Rooney Mara) but his affection strays as his memories grow more extreme. Patel is brilliant as the grieving son and brother wondering what happened to his family after his disappearance. 

Lion is a remarkable story based on the true story and the book Saroo wrote. The movie is a powerful piece of cinema and the inevitable reunion is a wonderful thing to see. The real tragedy behind the film are the tens of thousands of children who go missing each year in India and the poverty that inflicts the nation. As great as the movie is, I would like to see more films that show India in a positive light.

The search on Google Earth also shows the life-changing impact of technology. Without the maps and the fast communication of the internet Saroo's search may as well have been in vain but with the powerful search capacity of the search engine, Saroo was reunited with his family and discovers the truth of his disappearance. I would highly recommend Lion to those who like a powerful story and an epic adventure. 

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