Director: Garth Davis
Starring: Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, David Wenham, Rooney Mara, Sunny Pawar, Abhishek Bharate, Priyanka Bose
This week I was lucky enough to catch a showing of ‘Lion’, which is set for release on the 20th January 2017, and from the moment I watched the first trailer it had been a film I was eager to see. I’m a sucker for a film based on true events and this story is one I knew I had to watch!
‘Lion’ is the true story of Saroo, a five year old Indian boy who loses his brother one night at a train station, who then boards (and falls asleep on) an abandoned train that takes him thousands of kilometres away from his home village. After surviving for months on his own on the streets, and facing many difficult challenges, Saroo is adopted by an Australian couple and is flown to Australia to start his new life with them. 25 years later, Saroo becomes increasingly anxious about his real family and so he places his life on hold to try and discover where he comes from in the hope to return one day and find his mother, brother, and sister.
Before I comment on anything else, I think the biggest mention needs to go to young Sunny Pawar, who plays Saroo as a child. The first half of the film focuses on Saroo’s struggle to survive in Calcutta and whilst he doesn’t have all that much dialogue to go with all his screen-time, he really pulls at your heartstrings with his facial expressions and his performance. He completely has the audience in the palm of his hand every second he’s on screen and you find yourself worrying about this lost little boy from the very start of his traumatising journey.
Dev Patel plays Saroo when he is older, and he is an actor I’ve really enjoyed watching these past few years. He continues to improve, and delivers strong and emotional performances consistently. David Wenham and Nicole Kidman play the couple who adopt Saroo as a child, but it’s late on in the second act where their performances begin to really shine and their characters bare their souls and share their true feelings. During their earlier screen-time in the film it’s obvious their smiles and happiness are just a front for Saroo’s benefit, so when we finally see the real side to their characters, it’s incredibly emotional and eye opening, and there is one scene in particular that features Patel and Kidman that will definitely have you reaching for the tissues..
It was revealed this week that ‘Lion’ is nominated for 4 Golden Globe awards for best drama, Dev Patel is nominated for best performance by a supporting actor, Nicole Kidman is nominated for best performance by a supporting actress and finally, best original film score. The Golden Globe nominations this year will be a close one to call, but I would love for Dev Patel to win his nominated award because this was by far his best performance to date.
I would highly recommend witnessing this true story in the cinema when it’s released. It definitely has to be seen to be believed. What Saroo had to endure as a child is something no child should experience and despite the traumatizing and life changing experiences, he never gave up hope. The whole cast give emotional performances and will have your attention for the entirety of the film. You’re also going to want to stay seated when the credits begin to roll because there are photographs and videos of the real Saroo that will definitely require more tissues.
Tom’s rating: 7.9 out of 10