Lion Movie Review

I saw the most magnificent movie last weekend! Lion is based on the book of the true story of  5-year-old Saroo who gets lost riding the train in India and loses his family. He ends up in an orphanage in Calcutta and is adopted by an Australian couple but feels lost not knowing where he came from. More than two decades later, through Google Earth's mapping technology Saroo spends 2 years looking at every railroad station online to see if it reminds me of the one he came from so he can search for his lost family in India.

Starring Dev Patel who you might remember from movies like The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Slumdog Millionaire, Nicole Kidman and a wonderful child named Sunny Pawar. Nominated for 6 Oscars including Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role (Nicole) and Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Dev) although it was mind boggling that nomination didn't go to Sunny.  Eight year old Sunny was originally unable to attend the US premiere of the movie because he was denied a visa. Producers of the film had to make an appeal to Homeland Security, after which Sunny and his father were allowed to come to the US.

I was blown away by this amazing movie! It's definitely a tear jerker. It's such a beautiful film about family and belonging. The movie is so gripping about the  story missing child cases. Did you know that over 80,000 children go missing in India each year? If you saw the film and were engrossed by this, the film's website links you to Indian charities that are trying to help.

The scenes in India are excellent! Sunny's facial expressions alone spoke volumes. No need for words. In fact he didn't speak English during filming of the movie. But I have to say the scenes were the children were being kidnapped from the streets and the orphanage were just so raw. Saroo was very fortunate because most children in his situation did not survive and his survival depended upon using his instincts to avoid people with ulterior motives. 

While we don't see much of Saroo's adopted brother Mantosh (also from India) in the movie, I think he was there to show contrast with two sides of love, loving someone who's easy and someone who isn't as far as parenting goes. If it wasn't for him, Kidman wouldn't have had her compelling scenes. While his disability is not revealed clearly in the movie, my guess was his two meltdowns were due to autism?

In the book Saroo actually had another older brother Kallu and its implied that the loss of the two boys gave the other two children a better future than they wouldn't have had, as the mother could now afford to send those two to school. The sister was able to become a teacher.  The siblings always wanted to help the mother move out of the slums, but the mother refused to go anywhere in case Saroo ever found his way home.

I've been to India four times and for awhile I was really into watching Bollywood movies which typically are 3 hours long with lots of song and dance. But only in the last decade have they started to show kissing. I think that influenced why in Lion you never actually see Saroo kiss his girlfriend on the lips, even though they're in bed. I think they wanted to make the film more marketable in India? I wasn't a fan of Mara Rooney's role of the girlfriend in the movie. I just thought she was  unnecessary and didn't like the importance of her character. Even the poster for the movie makes it look like the movie is about their love story, it's not. I wish the director hadn't chosen to keep focusing on his relationship with his girlfriend instead of his adoptive family.

The music is mostly classical piano and was nominated for a Golden Globe. I loved the song by Sia in the movie called Never Give Up. The Australian scenes were filmed in Tasmania, Australia and the scenery was just gorgeous!  If you want to understand why the film is called "Lion" stay for the end credits, there’s an explanation behind the film title and also you can see some pictures of the real characters of the story.

Lion moved me to tears. I could not recommend it highly enough. This is the best movie I've seen in a long time! You can find it on Netflix in April.

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