In Theaters Now: “Lion” (2016)

lion

Little Saroo, at the beginning of a very long journey

Lion, directed by Garth Davis, tells the amazing true story of Saroo Brierly, who as a five year old gets lost on a train that takes him thousands of miles away from his family.  Saroo ends up in Calcutta, where he must fend for himself until he is taken in by an orphanage.  He eventually gets adopted by an Australian couple.  Although happy in his new home, he cannot shake the memories of his family in India.  As an adult, Saroo sets out to find them, armed only with vague, decades-old recollections of his hometown and Internet technology (Google Earth).

The first half of this film, which concerns Saroo’s life as a child in India, is gripping.  All incidents which occur in this section are shown from little Saroo’s (Sunny Pawar) point of view to devastating effect.  Your heart breaks, for example, watching him wildly pounding the doors and walls of the moving train, screaming for help as he is whisked away from everything he knows and remembers.

The second half of the movie is not nearly as engaging, although actor Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire) is intense in portraying the adult Saroo.  He is supported by Rooney Mara, who plays a girlfriend; and David Wenham and Nicole Kidman, who play his adoptive parents.

Warning:  I would suggest that you bring a couple of very porous handkerchiefs to this show.  You’ll need them.

*******

Lion is based on the non-fiction book A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierly with Larry Buttrose.  You can purchase a copy at amazon.com by using the following link:

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Also, if you want to see a video of the real story, type into YouTube “60 Minutes Saroo Brierly.”  Do this only if you don’t mind spoilers, because you will discover how things really worked out for Saroo and his two families.

Pluses:  Good performances from Sunny Pawar (little Saroo), Dev Patel (adult Saroo).  Powerful first half.

Minus:  Last half drags a little.  Unnecessary romantic subplot.

Cast:  Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, Rooney .Mara, David Wenham, Abhishek Bharate, Priyanka Bose, Sunny Pawar

Director:  Garth Davis

Rating:  PG-13

In color.

Length:  118 minutes

 

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