Lion (Garth Davis, 2016): Australia | UK | USA

Reviewed by Tilda Sorvari. Viewed at AFI Fest 2016.

Based on a heartbreaking true story, Lion is a drama directed by multiple award winning Garth Davis. The original novel A long way home is written by Saroo Brierley and Larry Buttrose. This movie touches many issues and stirs up emotions in every viewer. Great cast with Dev Patel as Saroo together with Rooney Mara and Nicole Kidman as the main characters.

Saroo is a clever and adventurous 5 year old boy living in the center of India with his mother and siblings. His older brother Guddu is his hero and Saroo wants to help him to provide for the family. One night the two brothers lost each other at a train station and Saroo ends up on a train that takes him hundreds of miles away from his family. Finally he gets of the train but no one understands what he’s trying to say, Saroo’s  in Calcutta where they don’t speak his language. After some time living on the street, an orphanage takes him in and soon a loving Australian couple adopt him. Fast forward to when Saroo is in his 20’s buttons are being pushed and his memories from India starts to appear. A long journey lyes ahead of him to try and find out where he comes from and where he belongs.

This was the first movie I watched at the AFI fest and boy was it a good one. I cried my eyes out and was completely devoted and lost in this movie. Beautiful sound transitions and parallel cuttings. It was very intense in the beginning of the movie when you didn’t know what would happen to the little 5 year old. Same intensity came back when Saroo was searching on the computer for home. Constant close-ups on the computer and on his face. There is a beautiful opening shot probably from a drone, flying over what I assume is the landscape of India. This shot makes a total sense towards the second half and end of the movie when we get to follow every step of Saroo’s search for home. I think Dev Patel is amazing as Saroo as well as young Saroo Sunny Pawar. I love these kind of movies when you forget about time and life outside of the theater,  you get soaked up by the story and feel very intimate with the characters.

Definitely one of the best movies I’ve seen this year. It’s adventurous, funny and sad. Keeps you on edge and is informative. There’s a deep love that imbues. It’s real.

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