Based on an incredible true story, Lion is a terrific film about the heartbreaking tragedy of a lost Indian child who overcomes his circumstances to attempt to reconnect with his loved ones. The first half of the movie follows a 5 year old boy named Saroo from an impoverished Indian village who is separated from his family after falling asleep on an abandoned train that ends up thousands of miles away in Calcutta. We witness his gut-wrenching search for his mother and brother in a foreign region without being able to tell authorities where he is from or how to contact his family. Reminiscent of the 2008 movie Slumdog Millionaire, the film shows the abject poverty and deplorable conditions of the very young orphans living on the streets in the densely populated slums of India. After several dangerous encounters, he is eventually placed with a white Australian couple, played by Academy Award-winning actress Nicole Kidman and David Wenham, who provide him the means to lead a successful life in Tasmania far away from India. In the film’s second half, Dev Patel, in his best performance since his breakthrough role in Slumdog Millionaire, portrays Saroo 25 years later who has a seemingly well-adjusted life in Australia and is in a long-term relationship with a young woman played by Rooney Mara. However, his sense of purpose is upended after discovering the newly released online tool Google Earth and realizing that it may be possible to find his family. He uses the software’s satellite imagery to retrace the train routes he took on that fateful day to locate his Indian home. Desperate for a long shot hope of reconnecting with his biological mother and brother, he spends countless hours meticulously combing through Google Earth and other online research material. Although ultimately an uplifting inspirational story about literally rediscovering oneself, the movie vividly recounts the heart-wrenching agony of a child being separated from his family and having to join a brand new family thousands of miles away. Furthermore, the filmmaker effectively underscores the story’s painful truth: despite tragically losing his family, his adoption allowed him to escape a life of destitution that would have been practically guaranteed if he remained in India. Overall, I found it to be one of the more poignant cinematic experiences that was both depressing and beautifully uplifting at the same time while providing the already talented young actor Dev Patel with a truly career-defining performance.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s