Lost children pull at your heart and represent any parent’s worst fears. “Lion” is a beautiful and true story of a young boy who goes missing.
Saroo is out with his big brother when he ends up on a train that takes him 1,000 miles from home. Stranded in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), he ends up struggling to survive in a place where he doesn’t speak the language.
The first hour is full of young Sunny Pawar’s magical acting and elegiac cinematography by Greig Fraser (“Rogue One” and “Foxcatcher”). In that early section, the words are in Hindi and Bengali, with subtitles.
Director Garth Davis showed us equivalent feats of beauty in “Top Of The Lake” and his distinctive style pulls you in.
Dev Patel takes over as the young adult Saroo. The enormous intensity of the first half is a bit lost as we are pulled between an enormous advertisement for Google Earth and portentous music that sometimes overwhelms the delicate tone and gorgeous visuals.
But it’s a terrific story and people were sniffling as the last section unfolded. The Stratford East Picturehouse audience was very moved.
Did I feel manipulated? Of course I did. But Nicole Kidman – who I just don’t like – is absolutely splendid and I finally see the point of her career.
David Wenham, Deepti Naval and Rooney Mara are also just great.
And Dev Patel has done nothing as grand as this since “Slumdog Millionaire”.
“Lion” has grossed £43 million on a $12 millon budget and the Weinstein Company needs that lift to the coffers.
Australia’s tourist board may wish to use some scenes to sell how beautiful Tasmania is. I have been flicking through travel websites so don’t underestimate the power of those locations.
Do stay through the credits for a rather moving additional dedication.
And Google Saroo Brierley after you see it because his story and book are extraordinary.
Try not to look up too much about it before you go see it. The less you know, the more joy you will get from this.
After seeing it, I had very vivid dreams of my own childhood.