Lion – Movie Review

Release details
Cast and crew

Rated: Biography, Drama
Release date: 25 November 2016
Duration: 118 mins


Director: Garth Davis
Screenwriter: Saroo Brierley, Luke Davies
Cast: Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, Rooney Mara, Sunny Pawar

“ Hope has shining eyes ”

A true story reflecting the real reality of a world known to orphans. Saroo (Dev Patel) a 5-year-old boy, finds himself alone on the platforms of a train station, far from home in this big city: Calcutta. After a few months of loneliness living on the street, he is arrested and sent to an orphanage. Finally, he is adopted by a loving Australian family. 25 years later, he’s still thinking about his family lost in India. He needs to be reunited with his mother and brothers.

With accuracy, the film does everything possible to get us attached to the little boy Saroo.

The precision of the details, showing the indescribable need to find one’s original family, demonstrating this feeling of emptiness, brings tears to our eyes. We want him to succeed. During the movie, Saroo explains how he plans to do it and tries to convince the others that it is possible. But will he be able to talk to his current family? How will his mother react? Is his biological family alive? Too many questions to ask.

This film shows the struggle of an adopted child. However, Lion is not only for this specific audience, everybody can see it and find a reason to appreciate this film. We can see all the stages that Saroo goes through, hope, sadness, disillusionment, courage, love. Dev Patel succeeds in giving us shivers. The rhythms of the music are well chosen and leave a suspense, questioning us if he has found what he is looking for. The types of shots, with a top shot showing the huge city or a panoramic view of it help the dynamics of this film which does not give the impression of being too long. In addition, conflicts with major characters underscore nostalgia and leave us in doubt: Lion is not predictable.

So maybe this movie can’t be realistic for all orphans or adults. Moving from disillusionment to hope so easily could be annoying, we can suppose: okay it’s a real story so it’s obvious there will be a happy ending. This seems unfair to the other orphans.

Sunny Pawar, the young Saroo, is endearing and could earn an Oscar for his performance. Linking loneliness, hope and fear together with a particular dynamic isn’t given to anyone and he achieves it. The couple Sunny Pawar with Dev Patel, who can play different feelings too, works. We find a part of the young boy in him. We really stay focused on this movie thanks to them. Nevertheless, it would have been better to highlight the rest of the distribution that represents the two families. To give more importance to Lucy (Rooney Mara), Saroo’s girlfriend, to get the partner’s point of view, to understand how she reacts to the suffering of an adopted person.

A film about emotional feelings to calm our minds and let us dream about how important it is to enjoy our lives. Director Garth Davis was able to do it without making us cry or soften us up with an easy scenario simply looking for people’s pity. Lion sheds a light on the great talent of each main actor and speaks about a taboo subject with softness. We are discovering another world which more and more parents want to adopt and to be part of. A world where the questions “Who am I?”, “Where do I come from?” are often unanswered and adoptive parents have no answers.

A review made by Olivia Porral.

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