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.

New breed of laws

PAWFECT COMPANION: Isaac dog owners like Curtis Teale, pictured with husky Luca, will need to abide by new breeding laws that start today.

New dog breeding laws throughout Queensland will begin today.

Serving up a tasty fundraiser

YARNS APLENTY: Bush poet Murray Hartin will entertain diners at the Springsure State School's Paddock to Plate 2017 dinner.

Springsure State School is serving up a yummy fundraiser.

Let's seal our future prosperity

KNEE DEEP: Matthew and Bernadette Paine's daughter Grace demonstrates how the heavy traffic load causes incredible wear and tear on Springsure-Tambo Rd.

Region outgrows dirt road

Local Partners

The 'pretty boy' miner wowing the world of fashion

FROM being called "pretty boy", to hiding his passion from his father to the point he was almost listed as a missing person, his career change hasn't been easy.

What to expect at Birds of Tokyo's Ipswich gig

The band will perform at the Racehorse Hotel on Friday.

BAND member Glen Sarangapany talks music, pub grub and doing shoeys

What public holidays are left in 2017

Ipswich residents will get the day off tomorrow for the show.

IPSWICH residents will get tomorrow off for the show

Caitlyn comes home to launch debut album

Gympie's Caitlyn Shadbolt will launch here debut album Songs On My Sleeve at an exclusive all-ages concert in Gympie on Friday, May 26.

Win tickets to Caitlyn's album launch

HBO spills new details on Game of Thrones’ final season

JUST ahead of the premiere of Game of Thrones season 7, we’ve been given new details about what to expect from the eighth and final instalment.

Karl’s rant on Corby: ‘Made to look like idiots’

Karl Stefanovic is sick of hearing about Schapelle Corby.

Today co-host launched a tirade against Schapelle Corby media circus

Big Pineapple festival safety concerns as 100s walk home

LONG WALK HOME: Many festival goers opted to take a dangerous walk home due to transport difficulty following the Big Pineapple Festival in Woombye on Saturday.

Big Pineapple festival-goers have braved dangerous walks home

Shot at the live shows slips through Sally's fingers

Sally Skelton and Bojesse Pigram pictured after their battle performance on The Voice.

Sunshine Coast singer's dramatic elimination from The Voice

Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor split after 17 years

They were married in May 2000 and have two children, who they said will remain their priority.

Ben Stiller and his wife Christine Taylor have called it a day

Why The Voice hasn't produced a star

Boy George responds to Brittania Clifford-Pugh's heart-warming message.

It's the industry, not the show, says Boy George

These actors hated their movies and didn’t mind admitting it

Channing Tatum and Marlon Wayans in a scene from GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra.

Every year, Hollywood blesses us with plenty of God awful movies.

This is real estate's billion-dollar man

Bob Wolff at AREC with John McGrath of McGrath Real Estate.

They don’t call him the “Billion dollar man” for nothing

Man's amazing comeback from monster crisis

Pat O'Driscoll agents Penny Keating and Doug Webber sold 56 Agnes St, The Range at auction over the weekend.

NOT long ago, he sold his possessions to pay staff. Now he's back.

Report reveals progress on $319m airport upgrade

Aerials of the Sunshine Coast.Jetstar plane in front of the Susnhine Coast terminal, Sunshine Coast Airport.

Over two dozen government approvals needed for airport expansion

Lost dough leaves sour taste after company collapse

Kathleen and John Mahoney from Sugar and Spice Bakery were stung after the collapse of Cantro Pty Ltd and are still owed money.

Supermarket operator collapse leaves sour taste for bakery

Open for inspection homes May 25-31

Check out this weekend's homes open for inspection

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!