A five-year-old Indian boy gets lost on the streets of Calcutta, thousands of kilometers from home. He survives many challenges before being adopted by a couple in Australia. 25 years later, he sets out to find his lost family.
1080p, DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, 2.40:1 Aspect Ratio
2016, Rated PG-13, 1 hour, 58 minutes
Starring: Dev Patel, Rooney Mara, David Wenham, Nicole Kidman, Sunny Pawar
Directed by: Garth Davis
Back in my college days I took a course on screenwriting. One of the best lessons I learned from that class was that many great stories are there right under your nose in the headlines of the newspaper. Lion is an extraordinary but true tale of a young Indian boy who accompanies his brother to work one day, but ends up over a thousand miles away from his home after falling asleep on an out of service train.
After escaping some harrowing situations in Calcutta (where he ended up), he is adopted by an Australian family and relocated to Tasmania. Years later visions and memories of that early part of his life begin to consume him, pushing him on a quest to find out who he really is and where his family is now. Taken with that context, the story is already fantastic, but knowing that it is based on real world events only adds to the power of this film.
The performances by Dev Patel, Rooney Mara, and Nicole Kidman are outstanding. Patel truly captures the wide range of emotions Saroo experiences throughout the film. We empathize with him as he gradually becomes obsessed and then consumed by his desire to find his biological family. We understand his anger at his brother Mantosh for the disrespect he shows for their adoptive parents. And we feel the guilt when he learns that his parents didn’t adopt him because they couldn’t have children, rather, because they felt the calling to raise a child already in need.
This was the point at which Nicole Kidman shined as Sue Brierly. The amount of unwavering love Sue has for her two adopted sons was evident, but that moment where she explains to Saroo why they adopted him and Santosh was a pinnacle of emotion. Along the same lines, we sympathize with Lucy when she is giving everything she can to support Saroo, but he finally rebuffs her in favor of his obsession. The hurt she feels comes through as if it were our own. This is what makes her character believable when she is willing to come back to him to help once he finds his hometown.
Much like in one of the films I previously reviewed, Patriots Day, this movie contains an epilogue featuring actual footage of the real Saroo meeting his mother and sister for the first time in 25 years. It was riveting to see the actual meeting after seeing the dramatization of Saroo’s story. Seeing the woman who stayed put all those years only to have a chance at reunion with her son break down in tears of joy evoked a truly visceral response – something not many movies are capable of doing for me.
The video transfer from film looked wonderful. The 2.40:1 aspect ratio was especially effective during the early scenes showing the train moving across the country. The DTS-MA 5.1 audio track was nothing extraordinary. I did find the surround channels to be used effectively during Saroo’s dreams to help add depth to the experience. All in all, this is not going to be a demo disc, but that was also not a focal point of the film.
- Deleted Scenes
- Behind the Scenes Gallery
- “Never Give Up” Performed by Sia – Official Lyric Video –Lionsgate