With the Academy Awards coming up in the very near future, there’s an important movie we haven’t talked about: Lion. It’s an Australian / American / British production based on Saroo Brierley’s memoires “A long way home”. The film stars her royal highness Nicole Kidman and Slumdog Millionaire’s Dev Patel. And they did an excellent job. But we were most impressed by the leading role performed by the charming 8-year-old Sunny Pawar.
Lion tells the story about Saroo (Sunny Panwar), a 5-year-old boy living with his mother, brother and sister in Khandwa, a province in the middle of India. One day he follows his older brother to a job. Due to unfortunate circumstances Saroo falls asleep on a moving train and ends up all alone in Calcutta. Saroo doesn’t know the name of his village, doesn’t speak the Bengali language and is forced to sleep on the streets. Surprisingly he manages to survive, not without difficulties, and he finally ends up in an orphanage. Approximately one year after he got lost, Saroo is adopted by Sue and John Brierley (Nicole Kidman & David Wenham), a loving Australian couple.
Twenty years later Saroo (Dev Patel) moves to Melbourne to study hotel management. While lunching with some of his Indian friends a childhood memory pops up when he sees jalebi, an Indian delicacy. That’s the moment Saroo reveals that he was adopted. One of his friends makes the smart remark that he cas use Google Earth to search for his hometown and family.
Starting from this point Saroo dedicates his life to finding his home and family. Partly at the expense of the relationship with his girlfriend Lucy (Rooney Mara) and adoptive parents. After a long search he seems to have found the village he was born and travels to India.
We couldn’t have chosen a better cast for Lion. To start with the absolute star of this movie: Sunny Pawar. A child with no real acting experience who’s giving this major performance. That little fella should have been nominated for an Oscar, no doubt! Nicole Kidman plays a very convincing adoptive mother Sue Brierley. We wouldn’t have expected anything else since Nicole adopted two children herself. In interviews she even mentioned this movie is “a love letter to them”. And last but not least there’s Dev Patel who gives character to the grown-up Saroo. He’s very persuasive in this deeper role that mainly consists of being trapped between his childhood memories and his new life.
However everyone (including a few members of our beloved team) seems to drool on La La Land, we might have been more impressed by Lion. The main reason why is the story, it really gets to you and this makes it hard to let it go afterwards. Not because there’s a lot of sadness and it’s just an emotional subject. Lion does have a positive message in the end, it’s about unconditional love from both his biological and adoptive family. And that might just have been the thing that made us weak, the unconditional love.
Lion has been nominated for 6 Oscars including best picture, best actor and best actress in a supporting role.