Review: Lion

I don't know where I'm from.

In India, a young boy named Saroo (Sunny Pawar) is helping his brother Guddu (Abhishek Bharate) steal coal to sell. Guddu is leaving for a "night job" that Saroo insists he's strong enough to handle. Guddu is hesitant, but lets him tag along anyways. When they arrive, he's too tired to do anything, so Guddu leaves him on a bench to sleep and tells him to wait there. When he wakes, he wonders onto a train, falls asleep again and winds up on the other side of the country. Eventually he winds up at an orphanage, and being adopted by a kind Australian family, Sue (Nicole Kidman) and John. (David Wenham) 20 years later, older Saroo (Dev Patel) starts having dreams of his former life, and he sets out to try to locate his home using Google maps.

I was worried I wasn't going to get to see this before the Oscars, then my indie theater came through. It easily lived up to my high expectations. I was kind of iffy about the whole Google Maps part of the story, because I've heard it being referred to as an "ad" but I actually thought those scenes were handled quite well, especially backed by the film's lovely score.

The acting is what completely elevates this above a normal feel good story. First off, Sunny Pawar is a treasure. He easily carries the first half and seeing what he went through after he was lost is downright horrifying. Then there's Nicole Kidman, who I just wanted to hug from the moment we meet her on screen. Sue is so warm and loving and she's trying SO hard. It's impossible not to feel from her and even though she's not in the film very much, she makes every minute of her screen time worth it. Finally, there's Dev Patel. Sure, he should probably be in the lead actor category, but like Viola Davis, I can see why they put him in supporting and I'll roll with it. Patel gives a career best performance. He nails his Aussie accent (at least it sounded good to me) and his eyes are so expressive. They focused a lot on Saroo and his girlfriend Lucy (Rooney Mara) and you could tell in those scenes how strained their relationship has become with all the searching, but how strong it is underneath.

I really want Dev to win that Oscar. I love Moonlight, and Mahersala Ali and I will be psyched when he's an Oscar winner, but looking at the performances in that category, I think Dev was the best. 

If the film has one fault, it's probably the pacing. It clocks in at just under two hours but feels much longer than that at times. But the ending is so satisfying it's not a huge problem. You'll likely ugly cry.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A

Memorable Quote: "She needs to see how beautiful you are." - Sue (Nicole Kidman)

12 comments:

  1. This is. Film I want to see. I have read good things about it except for the length but I will see it. I doubt Dev Patel will win but you never know.

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    1. I don't think he will either, but I'd be okay if he did.

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  2. I really just think that Dev should be in the lead, and not even competing against Mahershala. So, I'm for Mahershala, hands down. I do hope Dev wins an Oscar soon. He's better than most others they obsess over.

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    1. He should be, but I see why the studio campaigned him in supporting. It was what, 45-60 mins before he even showed up on screen? I also hope he wins an Oscar someday soon.

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  3. Ugh, all the yes for your review! I felt the same way. I thought I was holding myself together, and then when it's revealed why the movie is called Lion I felt fell into a heap and ugly cried for about 10 minutes!

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    1. Yep! I was normal crying when movie Saroo met his mother, then when they showed the real footage of Sue and his birth mother, I lost it.

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  4. I read the book and wasn't terribly excited to see this but when it got good buzz at TIFF I moved some of my screenings around to see it. I sort of think Dev should be lead instead of supporting. And the little guy is so charming! I didn't even hate Nicole inthis.

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    1. Dev should be lead, but I can see why they put him in supporting since he's only in half the movie.

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  5. Kidman was delightful in this. You could just sense such warmth in her character. Wonderful work and one of her most surprising performances.

    You are so crushing on Dev dude :P

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    1. Yes! I wanted to hug her so badly.

      I am, dude looks so hot with that beard and shaggy hair lmao

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  6. Dev's performance really caught me by surprise. I haven't seen much of him apart from Slumdog Millionaire and the The Newsroom but he was truly outstanding in this film. Quite clearly the lead but understandable why he was campaigned as supporting.

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    1. I don't take that much of an issue with him being supporting because he really is only in half of the film. He was amazing.

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No seriously, post one. I need attention.