‘Lion’ tells the true story story of a five year old Indian boy who gets lost on the streets of Calcutta, thousands of kilometres from home. He survives many challengers before being adopted by a couple in Australia. 25 years later, he sets out to find his lost family. The film is filled with heart break, emotion, and one of the best Australian accents by a non-Australian in Dev Patel. It’s heavy, but worth the watch.
This is bar far one of the best Australian films to come out of the country in the last few years. Visually, it’s stunning, and the acting was absolutely on point with a huge special mention to the absolutely phenomenal newbie Sunny Pawar who plays the five year old Saroo. He is by far one of the best parts of the film with his innocence truly striking a cord in your soul. He carries the first act of the film with strength, helping tell the grippingly moving story that required a box of tissues. It’s a two hour film that makes you forget that you’re at the cinema as it pulls you into a whirlwind of drama, mystery, and romance. English-Indian actor Dev Patel takes the torch on from Sunny and continues to guide the story in an adult Saroo through the last half of the film, really connecting the story between the past and the present. Each of the actors cast in their roles were accurately portrayed and cast, with the likes of Rooney Mara, Nicole Kidman, and David Wenham in the supporting roles and shining in the screen time they’re given that was quite limited.
The thing that makes ‘Lion’ so great is that it’s a simple story without any puff or fluff. It’s a story about identity and our origin, something that we can never truly escape because it’s who we truly are. It completely blows everything out of the water this awards season and shame it didn’t win. Almost half the film is in India’s common language of Hindi, with some in the regional language of Bengali when little Saroo becomes lost in Calcutta. This adds incredible authenticity to the film instead of just using the universal language of English for the sake of sparing audiences to subtitles. And despite the story taking place over a lengthy period of time, it doesn’t feel like that. What needs to be known is shown with nothing really missing in between.
Where diversity is at the forefront of the entertainment industry, ‘Lion’ makes a case for diversity in storytelling and the simplicity of it, drawing back to basics without making the film overly dramatic. It’s a uniquely new story that’s refreshing amongst the industry today. ‘Lion’ is a film that deserves to be seen by all from a diverse audience of ethnicity, gender, and age group. In preparation of seeing this film, bring tissues. Even if you don’t think you’ll cry, you will.