If you have been a child, raised a child, lost a child or met a child –any of the situations that involve a mother – this movie will leave a dent on you.
Spoiler-free synopsis: 25 years after getting lost and adopted, an Australian man wants to find his biological family in the heart of India. Will he succeed?
To be honest, I've been quite capricious lately. None of the recent movies has managed to really get under my skin. Lion, however, changed all that. The first half of the movie was bit of a slog as I thought it was just a Slumdog Millionaire sequel. But hang in there, because the second half is where Lion triumphs.
Lion works not just because of the story [Saroo Brierley's autobiographical account of his experiences, A Long Way Home] at the centre, but also for the brilliant adaptation and heart-wrenching performances. It's not particularly packed with twists but the protagonist's intense urge to reconnect with his roots keeps you at the edge of your seat. The amazingly talented Sunny Pawar gives a breakthrough performance as little Saroo. He is a vulnerable five-year-old, but is also quick on his feet and street smart. Even though he is exposed to cruelty and adversities, he emerges a survivor. Nicole Kidman shines in her understated role. She works her minimal dialogues and delivers a powerful performance that will surely stay with you. This is hands down Dev Patel's best performance to date. You dread for him, and also root for him, and mostly you are rapt by his story and the sophisticated simplicity of the narrative
Lion may not have punch-in-the-gut moments, but it's certainly high on humbling moments. When little Saroo – sitting on sidewalk – tries to emulate a man having soup inside a restaurant with a spoon he found in the dumpster, it reminds us of our inherent privileges we often take for granted. The quiet conversation between Saroo and his adoptive mother demonstrate the power of devotion and sacrifice.
As I didn't do any background check, the heavy focus on Google Earth seemed a little irrational to me, but then I got to know it was based on a true story. Lion will break your heart and restore your faith in humanity. Do yourself a favour, keep the tissues handy!
Rafidah Rahman is a teeny-tiny Hulk, she's always angry and she's always hungry. A cynical dreamer and a food enthusiast, she's your everyday entertainment. Correspond with her at firstname.lastname@example.org