Entertainment

MOVIE REVIEW: Lion leaves a lasting impression

Nicole Kidman and Sunny Pawar in a scene from the movie Lion.
Nicole Kidman and Sunny Pawar in a scene from the movie Lion. Mark Rogers

I REMEMBER watching the emotional reunion of Saroo Brierley and his birth mother on 60 Minutes.

It was an amazing story of determination against impossible odds.

After tagging along with his older brother to the train station near their central Indian village, five-year-old Saroo accidentally fell asleep on an empty carriage. When he woke up, the train had already transported him to a foreign landscape.

He would eventually make his way off the carriage in the bustling metropolis of Calcutta (now Kolkata), where he dodged the many dangers of the streets to eventually end up in an orphanage which matched him with a Tasmanian couple looking to adopt.

He grew up in Hobart, soon forgetting his native Hindi language. But he never forgot his Indian family and with the advent of Google Earth he began tracing every train line out of Calcutta in the hope of finding the landmarks he fleetingly remembered from his journey.

Dev Patel in a scene from the movie Lion.
Dev Patel in a scene from the movie Lion. Mark Rogers

One day he struck gold and travelled back to Khandwa, in Madhya Pradesh, 25 years after his disappearance to find his mother Kamla and his younger sister still living in the same neighbourhood.

I shed a tear or two at the 60 Minutes story. It was touching to see his two mothers, strangers who didn't even speak the same language, embracing each other as family.

Watching Lion, the big-screen adaptation of Saroo's memoir A Long Way Home, was like a full-blown waterworks show.

I really wasn't prepared for the emotional response I had to this film.

Lion, the feature film debut by Australian director Garth Davis, chronicles young Saroo's disappearance, his adoption and the years of his online search for his birth family.

Newcomer Sunny Pawar, who was five years old when he landed the role, is absolutely captivating, carrying the first half of the film with the support of Abhishek Bharate, who plays Saroo's older brother Guddu.

Sunny Pawar in a scene from the movie Lion.
Sunny Pawar in a scene from the movie Lion. Mark Rogers


The scenes where Saroo is locked in the empty passenger train, alone and frightened, as it chugs its way to Calcutta are particularly emotional despite the lack of dialogue.

Even though you know Saroo will survive his ordeal and eventually get adopted, it doesn't stop you from tensing up and fearing for him as he faces challenge after challenge with only his instinct to protect him.

I hardly even noticed the first half of this film is entirely in Hindi with English subtitles. It's a brave move from Davis, but one that adds to the authenticity of the childhood scenes filmed in India and what must have been a culture shock for young Saroo when he arrived in Australia.

Dev Patel does an equally great job carrying the second half of the film, which follows Saroo's budding romance with university classmate Lucy (Rooney Mara) and his turbulent relationship with his adoptive brother Mantosh as well as his tireless Google Earth search.

Dev Patel and Rooney Mara in a scene from the movie Lion.
Dev Patel and Rooney Mara in a scene from the movie Lion. Mark Rogers


Nicole Kidman also gives a powerful performance as Saroo's adoptive mum Sue.

The film's final scenes, when Saroo finally reunites with his mother Kamla, are understated yet powerful.

Davis doesn't tug on your heartstrings because he doesn't need to. The astonishing, real-life story does that for him. And thankfully, he lets it speak for itself rather than drowning it in sugary sap.

Lion opens nationally on January 19.

Lion

Stars: Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, Sunny Pawar, David Wenham, Rooney Mara.

Director: Garth Davis

Rating: PG

Verdict: 4.5/5 stars


 

Topics:  dev patel lion movies nicole kidman the movie lion


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Huge police operation in lead-up to Melon Festival

Police have applauded the behaviour of Melon Festival patrons over the weekend.

Drug seizures in lead-up to festival ensure safe weekend for all

Linc Energy underground fires 'extinguished' says Minister

The Linc Energy Hopeland site form the air.

Underground fires extinguished, says State Environment Minister

Further 47,000ha under contamination investigation

This map provides information about the Hopeland and surrounding region excavation caution zone and investigation area.

Excavation Caution area now extends south of Hopeland

Local Partners

Biennial Rodeo 'biggest ever' in Chinchilla

As the dust settled in the days that followed the Melon Fest Rodeo, Chinchilla Rodeo Committee President Paul Ellem's shock and surprise were still evident.

REVIEW: Under the Gun doco looks at right to bear arms

ARMED: A still from the 2016 documentary film Under the Gun by Stephanie Soechtig.

An in-depth look into America's gun culture.

Messing with your head

MIND BLOWN: What could be weirder than the realisation that we have another completely separate brain and nervous system than the one originating in our heads?

Fascinating connection between your gut and your brain

Sir Elton John coming to Mackay: What you need to know

Sir Elton will come to Mackay and Cairns in September.

Tickets to the concert go on sale on March 14

Buderim dad rejects gay son's emotional plea for second time

Bride and Prejudice: Son’s emotional plea rejected again by unmoved father

What's on the big screen this week

Ewan McGregor and Jonny Lee Miller in a scene from the movie T2: Trainspotting.

This week's new releases offer plenty of variety for movie buffs.

REVIEW: Under the Gun doco looks at right to bear arms

ARMED: A still from the 2016 documentary film Under the Gun by Stephanie Soechtig.

An in-depth look into America's gun culture.

Hodges proud to be part of first channel dedicated to NRL

Justin Hodges is gearing up for his new gig on Fox League.

Footy star hopes to provide a voice for players on new NRL channel

Furious Price wants to quit I'm a Celeb after clash with Keira

Steve Price has threatened to quit the jungle.

Will camp ration clash with Keira cause Steve to call it quits?

Novel with lots of heart

The romance in A Quiet Kind of Thunder was only one of the joys of the book.

Book proves to be a gem with layers

Bliss N Eso announce tribute show for stuntman

Bliss N Eso will play a tribute show at Coolangatta in honour of Johann Ofner. The stuntman died during the filming of the group's Friend Like You film clip earlier this year.

BLISS N Eso to play tribute show to raise funds for killed stuntman

$140k damage: landlord says property trashed, contaminated

He had what he calls "the tenants from hell"

Submarine, buses and 3000 tyres removed in $100K clean up

The list of things removed from this property is beyond astonishing

Popular island resort sells to loaded international investor

OUR PICK: Chris Foey's colourful shot of one of Gladstone's great tourism hot spots, Heron Island.

International investor snaps up piece of Gladstone paradise.

Expert: Why renters, home buyers may struggle

Matusik Property Insights director Michael Matusik.

What's next for the city's housing market

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!