A journey to the roots

Film reviews

A journey to the roots

English (U/A) Director: Garth Davis
Cast: Dev Patel, Rooney Mara, Nicole Kidman, David Wenham, Sunny Pawar

Lion is based on Saroo Brierley’s touching memoir A Long Way Home that tells of the author’s struggles in tracing his Indian roots.

Saroo spends his childhood as a poor boy who nonetheless receives love from his mother and brother. At just 5 years, he loses his way and ends up on a train which takes him to the busy city of Calcutta — thousands of kilometres away from his modest village. After escaping from human traffickers, the young Saroo (Pawar) lands in a state orphanage and fate smiles upon him. He is soon adopted by Australian couple John (Wenham) and Sue (Kidman).

The story leaps 20 years forward and Saroo (played by Patel) is encouraged by his friends to find his biological family in India. Soon, scanning Google Earth becomes an obsession and he begins to isolate himself from the people who love him dearly— his current family and girlfriend Lucy (Mara).

Get ready to shed a tear or two for Saroo as he begins his search for his biological family with just vague memories of his past. Director Davis starts off realistically with the innocent face of the adorable Pawar as young Saroo. The events in the lives of Saroo will leave one awestruck. You will immediately feel pity for Saroo as he pointlessly walks around the dangerous streets of Calcutta and runs away from people who want to harm him.

The film delivers well on its message. However, it tends to get too slow in the middle. There is nothing much to say about Wenham’s contribution, but Kidman’s performance as a mother of two adopted Indian kids is notable. Adorable Sunny Pawar as young Saroo is really cute and natural.  

Lion is an emotional watch, whose theme transcends continents. You will easily connect with Saroo’s grief and also share his genuine joy at the end.

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