I was not expecting this journey.
From the very beginning, Lion is beautiful and impactful. Based off the true story of Saroo Brierley, an Indian child who mistakenly boards the wrong train at the age of 6 which takes him all the way across the country who then is adopted by an Australian family where he is raised. Saroo’s story is an incredible journey that needs to be seen in order to be believed.
I have never made an excuses of my hatred of child actors because we all are familiar with bad child actors and there seems to be no shortage of them. However, Sunny Pawar, who plays a young Saroo throughout this film, is an incredible actor. He is able to encapsulate every single emotion that a child that was put into the situation of becoming lost and searching for help and answers could and he does so without ever once causing you to sit back and remember that this is a movie. Yes, he’s that good. In fact, Pawar occupies around 2/3 of the actual film and therefore becomes the most identifiable representation of Saroo’s battle to live even once you see him age into a twenty-something played by Dev Patell, who is strong in his own right, it is Pawar who truly shines throughout this movie.
Once lost, Saroo encounters homelessness, begging, stealing avoiding being stolen for child labor and other dark deeds to then being sent to a foster home which resembles a child-like version of a maximum security penitentiary to then being adopted by a lovely Australian family and experiencing a complete upheaval of the life he used to know. Through that change, he is able to push deep down into his emotional psyche the memories of his family and past, however, it isn’t until he is asked his story by college friends that all of those memories come flooding back at once leading an adult Saroo on a several year-long discovery of where his past and family truly reside.
That is the best I pitch and tease that I can give to you without telling you beat for beat what occurs and if I have any sort of influence on the movies you might choose to see then I encourage you to see Lion. It did the exact thing that movies are meant to do and that is touch the audience emotionally. Lion is a story that even though it is extremely well shown and explained onscreen you know the actual story is much more and knowing that all while seeing what Saroo experienced growing up makes for an extremely powerful experience. A film such as Lion is the reason I return to the theater so many times and hope for the best when seeing something for the first time. I cannot recommend this movie enough and will continue to sing its praises well after awards season has ended. If you get the chance, see this movie. You will not be disappointed.
LION – 5 Garys