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.

Fr Dan was a priest of the people

CELEBRATION: Fr Dan Moore at his 50 years of priesthood jubilee.

A vibrant life remembered.

Mayor responds to union criticism over DV leave

Central Highlands Mayor Kerry Hayes.

According to the Services Union, council is all talk, little action.

Coal mine takes the next step

FULL VIEW: The Olive Downs project.

A mine that will create more than 1000 jobs for CQ is a step closer.

Local Partners

Textiles master weaves her magic

Exhibition at Moranbah Coalface Art Gallery.

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

Actor Bill Paxton has died aged 61

AMERICAN actor and director Bill Paxton, who rose to stardom with roles in films such as Aliens and Titanic, has died at 61 due to complications from surgery.

Un-American tale makes Lion weakest link in Oscars line-up

Dev Patel in a scene from the movie Lion.

PSYCHOLOGY researchers find US films most likely to win at Oscars.

Can rightful winner Midnight take out golden Gosling in Oscars?

Can Lion pip La La Land at the post in this year's Oscars? Sunny Pawar (pictured) helped bring a powerful film to the big screen.

WILL Aussie film Lion triumph or will popular La La Land prevail?

Living End, Grinspoon stars hit stage for American Idiot

Chris Cheney of The Living End stars in the Australian production of Green Days musical American Idiot at Brisbane's QPAC Theatre.

TAKE a look behind the scenes of Green Day's American Idiot musical

Samuel L Jackson dismisses La La Land ahead of Oscars

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in a scene from the movie La La Land.

Hollywood actor and Oscars voter says Denzel should win top gong

Mackay's property market climbing like a Rocket Man

Renewed confidence in Mackay means more homes are being snapped up by those eager to plant their roots in the region.

There's movement in the real estate sector and it's all positive.

Mining downturn hitting mum and dad investors

18 Yeates Street, Moranbah sold for $135,000 in December, after being repossessed by a bank. The owners bought for $545,000 in August, 2011.

The economy still has two speeds, but with a painful twist

'Why we drove 800km to buy a treehouse with a disco ball'

The new owners have planned a few updates, but will stick with much of the original design.

A couple travelled almost 800km for the home of their dreams.

The trick homeowners are using to buy more properties

Chantelle Subritzky leaves her home each week for Airbnb guests.

Queenslanders are going down this path to help pay their mortgages

Stunning home blends South Pacific beauty with Orient style

Immaculate residence with two outdoor living areas

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!