Reviewed bymoviewizguyVote: 9/10/10
Do you know the feeling you get when you go into a film with noexpectations at all or thinking it might be decent, and the film turnsout to not only be good, but blows you away by how amazing it ends upbeing? That's LION, and if you've been watching films for several yearslike me thinking you've seen everything committed to cinema, it's afantastic feeling to be proved wrong.
Let me explain to you exactly what I experienced while watching LION:Almost half of the film is in Hindi, which lends incredibleauthenticity to the story, not that BS where they have actors in whichEnglish is their second language speak English for the sake of sparingthe American audience from reading subtitles (I'm looking at you,MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA, and every other Hollywood movie ever made). Infact, the entire first act takes place in India, where about 40 minutesof the film rides on the shoulders of a first time child actor playedby the wonderful Sunny Pawar and it's one of the best first acts I'veseen in years. Think of it like the silent first act of Wall-E; itfeels like it can be its own film, yet the filmmakers do a great jobconnecting the story once Dev Patel comes on screen.
On top of that, the filmmaking is impressive. The script is fantastic,the cinematography is lush, the soundtrack complements the film reallynicely, and the pacing is on point where it rarely feels like it'sdragging, despite the story taking place over the course of 25 years.Every actor in here is also terrific in their roles. As stated earlier,Sunny Pawar makes a compelling lead for the first third of the film. IfOscars were given to kid actors, he would have a damn good chance atwinning one. For the last two thirds, Dev Patel more than carries therest of the film, giving an emotionally naked performance worthy enoughto top his role in SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE. Finally, Rooney Mara, NicoleKidman, and David Wenham are ace, despite all of them having limitedscreen time.
In a time where diversity is being talked about more in the filmindustry, LION makes a compelling case for having diversity instorytelling. It's not about a guy meeting his girlfriend's parents forthe first time. It's not about a group of friends going in a cabin inthe woods. It's not even about a guy/girl struggling with the death ofhis/her father/mother/son/daughter/dog. No, LION is a personal storyunique to South Asians growing up in India, and it's refreshing andeasily one of the best films the year has to offer. Don't dismiss thisas yet another Oscar bait movie put out by the Weinstein Company itprobably is one. But the film is much more than that. With a distinctvision from director Garth Davis, LION offers an enthralling story thatdeserves to be seen by everyone.
Reviewed byIan YoungVote: 9/10/10
This is such a beautiful film, with a simple story line, without anyfrills.
A young Indian boy leaves their village with his older brother to dosome "jobs", in one of these jobs he gets lost and cannot find his wayback home. Pass some years and he's adopted by a family from Australia,and when that boy becomes an adult, he starts wondering where he'sactually from.
It deals with aspects of origin and identity, and that we cannot escapefrom who we really are.
Superb, superb acting from everyone, from the little Indian boys,specially Sunny Pawar that plays the young Sarro, to Dev Patel who hasclearly matured into a top class act and is endearing and touchingplaying the older Saroo.
I'm certainly watching it again.
Reviewed byCineMuseFilmsVote: 9/10/10
If film-art is the pursuit of visual pleasure, powerful storytellingand high emotional impact, then Lion (2016) is the year's high-watermark for Australian productions. Based on the novel A Long Way Home(2014), this film adaptation is a richly textured essay on the primalhuman need for belonging that will resonate with anyone who has everwondered who they are.
This true story is told in two parts and filmed across two continents.Five year-old Saroo is a ragamuffin sidekick to his older brotherGuddo, two poor boys who support their family by stealing coal andscavenging trains in their West Bengal village. They become separatedone night and Saroo finds himself alone on a train heading to the otherside of India. He he joins hordes of homeless children who must fendoff predators while begging to survive. Eventually he is placed in acrowded orphanage, then adopted by two big-hearted and childlessTasmanians, Sue (Nicole Kidman) and John (David Wenham). Twenty yearson, Saroo (Dev Patel) begins to have memory flashbacks of his nativeland. As they increase in intensity, he becomes obsessed with findinghis family. With some luck and Google maps, the story comes fullcircle.
There is so much that makes this film stand out. The storytelling ismore than engaging: it is so captivating that the two-hour run-timefeels like an hour. Acting performances are outstanding: Nicole Kidmanis at her best while the five year-old Saroo (Sunny Pawar) is the heartof the film and Dev Patel its soul. The cinematography is brilliant,especially the filming in India. The camera-work is both expansive andintimate, shifting often from sweeping aerial panoramas of mountainousIndian countryside and tranquil Tasmanian waterways to narrow windingalleys, village markets, and the inner-world of Saroo's turmoil. Someof the most powerful scenes are shot from the eye-level of a terrifiedlost boy jostled by masses of humanity and the close-ups of Saroo'spainful face desperate to know home. The colour palette is exotic,sound track emotionally intense, and the directing finds a rhythm thatis almost orchestral.
This film offers an immensely satisfying cinematic experience: visuallystunning, narratively powerful, and an emotional whirlwind. It comes atthe end of a very mixed year for Australian film, with some of theworld's finest produced but many that are less than inspiring. Lion isone of those films that will appeal to everyone and it has a very longafter-taste. It easily tops my film year.
In 1986, Saroo was a five-year-old child in India of a poor but happy rural family. On a trip with his brother, Saroo soon finds himself alone and trapped in a moving decommissioned passenger train that takes him to Calcutta, 1500 miles away from home. Now totally lost in an alien urban environment and too young to identify either himself or his home to the authorities, Saroo struggles to survive as a street child until he is sent to an orphanage. Soon, Saroo is selected to be adopted by the Brierley family in Tasmania, where he grows up in a loving, prosperous home. However, for all his material good fortune, Saroo finds himself plagued by his memories of his lost family in his adulthood and tries to search for them even as his guilt drives him to hide this quest from his adoptive parents and his girlfriend. Only when he has an epiphany does he realize not only the answers he needs, but also the steadfast love that he has always had with all his loved ones in both worlds.