SATURDAY, 10 JUNE – 7.30pm
2016 | Australia | Biographical Drama | Directed by Garth Davis. Starring Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, David Wenham, Rooney Mara, Sunny Pawar. 118 min. Rated PG.
Though its professional reviews have been mixed, Lion has won audience awards at film festivals around the world. What do critics know anyway? In short, don’t forget the tissues.
Based on a true story, 5-year-old Saroo (Sunny Pawar) accidentally gets lost on a train that takes him thousands of miles across India, away from home and family, to an area where another language is spoken (Bengali instead of Hindi), and he can’t even pronounce the name of his village correctly. Eventually, he is reduced to sleeping in tunnels and stealing food from public shrines. But somehow his innate street smarts kick in, allowing Saroo to survive long enough to be happily rescued from a potentially dire fate, when, as a presumed street orphan, he is adopted by an Australian couple (Nicole Kidman and David Wenham).
Twenty-five years later, armed with only a handful of memories, the grown-up Saroo, now played by a beefed-up Dev Patel, with unwavering determination and a revolutionary technology known as Google Earth, sets out to find his lost family and finally return to his first home.
Though Patel has been nominated around the world for his role, winning a Bafta for Best Supporting Actor, it’s Mumbai native Sunny Pawar, winning the part after thousands of children were screen-tested, who makes the first half of the film truly compelling.
“This big-hearted film does full justice to the horror, the pathos and the drama of Saroo’s postmodern odyssey.” – Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian ★★★★
“Let’s just say if you are human, there is no way that Lion won’t move you.” – Susan Wlosczcyna, Rogerebert.com ★★★1/2
“A deeply empathetic performance from Dev Patel and an unflinching view of child poverty on the streets of Calcutta provide a winning edge to Lion.” – The Times ★★★★