Director: Garth Davis
Running Time: 118 minutes
Main Cast: Dave Patel, Nicole Kidman, Sunny Pawar, David Wenham
One quote from Lion resonates with how I felt about this film and the way it tugged at your emotions. The quote in question, “You need to go, she needs to see how beautiful you have become.”
The quote is from Sue (Nicole Kidman), the adoptive mother of Saroo. It is from one of many beautiful and emotionally invoking scenes in the film. It can also be used to sum up my opinion of the film, you need to go see this and see how beautiful this film is.
This beautiful film is based on the true story of Saroo Brierley, which is adapted from the non-fiction book “A Long Way Home” by Saroo and Larry Buttrose. It follows Saroo a little Indian boy who becomes lost after boarding a train in search of his brother. He is then adopted by an Australian couple and is brought up in Tasmania. One day Saroo is reminded of his past and he begins the search for his lost family in India.
The film is split into 3 sections, forming the 3 acts for the narratives structure, the first being set in India as we see how a little Saroo (Sunny Pawar) first becomes lost, after he ends up on a train in search of his brother, but the train doesn’t stop until it reaches Calcutta. The second section follows Saroo’s (half Pawar, half Dev Patel) struggles in Calcutta and his subsequent adoption by Sue (Nicole Kidman) and John (David Wenham) and shows parts of his upbringing. The third section follows Saroo as he searchers for his parents, focusing on his wrestling match with his emotions and the people closest to him.
Each act is beautifully shot, edited and scored. It is able to capture Saroo through his struggles using shots that are either close up or wide shots to highlight the main theme around Saroo, in loneliness. Combine the cinematography with the score and editing and the way Garth Davis has constructed the film, and you have a wonderful, emotion evoked story that has you hooked from the first moment you see Saroo, standing among the butterflies with an astonished smile plastered across his face. It’s shots like these littered throughout the film that evoke so many different emotions.
The casting for the film is spot on, gathering a group of talented actors together that are great at portraying their emotions. Particularly Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman and Sunny Pawar, the little Indian boy who didn’t speak a word of English and where Davis had to communicated to him through hand gestures during filming. Each has their moment to shine, whether it is big or small. But Patel and Pawar’s performance are integral to the plot. Pawar is able to make you feel happy, sad and to feel his loneliness, as we follow him through the streets of Calcutta, portraying a range of emotions just through his facial expressions. Patel pulls off an all right Aussie accent and shows how versatile he can be as an actor, taking his acting to a whole new level. It’s a joy to watch both of them go about their business and they continuously pull at your heartstrings.
The only part where everything doesn’t work perfectly is the transition from the second act to the third act. Around this point the narrative becomes bumpy and seems to just go through the motions and not really provide anything thoughtful or emotion provoking, it just feels like a stalemate. But as Saroo’s search starts to turn from hope to anger this is when Lion roars back to life.
Lion is a beautiful story showcased by beautiful cinematography, an emotional score and outstanding acting by Patel and Pawar. Lion is one of those beautiful movies you have to see and experience.
The Front Row Opinion