Lion (2016) Review

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The incredible true story of Saroo who at five years old gets lost on the streets of Calcutta thousands of kilometres from his home. He faced many challenges to survive before being adopted by a couple in Australia, but has never been able to escape the memories of his lost family.

I found the first half of the film to be the most engaging and well quite frankly shocking, we cannot help but feel for Saroo as he ends up in a strange place. No idea how far away from home he ended up and no one at all would actually help him. He must fight to survive and stay safe on the streets which was not easy at all. But before that we get a little bit of background into how happy he was in his life with his Mother, older brother and younger sister. He was content and enjoyed the very simple things.

I had heard great things about Sunny Pawar in his first ever acting role for this film and I must add that no matter what you hear about him he is even better when you’re watching the film. Maybe that was why I found the first half to be better as we had plenty of his heartbreaking and heartwarming performance. A very impressive thing to be able to combine those two contrasting feels and sometimes at the same time.

The second half of the film we see the life change as he is moved to Australia to be with his new parents Sue and John. Who really do seem like the most lovely and welcoming couple, wanting nothing more than to create a good life for the new son they have welcomed in. We are flipped through a different number of years until he cannot face the memories and guilt anymore.

That is when Dev Patel takes over the role of Saroo and it is easily the best performance of his career so far. Having to deal with the stress of his memories and certain things triggering them until he cannot bear it any longer and must act to try to find his lost family. A pretty good advert for Google Earth as that is his key to try to work out where exactly he was from. Using maps and distances to try and narrow it down but with travelling over 1500 km it was not really a small radius.

In the trauma of trying to focus on this everything in his current life begins to fall apart as he does not want to upset his parents and cannot keep up his relationship with Lucy his girlfriend. It really does show that we are tested at many moments in our lives. I guess this is quite a strange film as you come closer to the end as even if you have not read about the story (I hadn’t) you can work out the ending as I guess we wouldn’t have had a film based on a book. That is not really the important part of the film though as we are taken on the journey in a pretty good way.

The first half showing the innocence of a child and how they really can fight to survive in awful circumstances. While the second half was slightly lacking that same edge, the performances are good enough to keep you engaged.

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