Movie Review: Lion (2017)

A few weeks ago I went to see ‘Lion’ the Oscar nominated movie starring Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman, I was really excited to watch it since first seeing the trailer in December. The main reason I was eager to watch it was because I loved Dev Patel in Slumdog Millionaire, well I love him full stop. After watching Slumdog I went on a video rampage where I would watch interviews, behind the scenes, TV shows anything about Dev Patel, I thought he was so good as Jamal and I wanted to see who he was as himself. So when I heard about this movie there was no doubt I would enjoy it.

What an amazing story, a true one at that, heart breaking, tear jerking and unconditional love are all present in this story. A story about a boy who loses his way in a country of millions, bordering on billions (when the events happened) and finds his way to an orphanage eventuating in becoming an Australian and soon, thanks to the evolution in technology, tracing his path back home.

The movie concentrates on the events that happened in India for the most part, at least over half of the movie is lived through Sunny Pawar who plays young Saroo. That was my first hint at it being emotional, that bad things, struggles, things that no child should live through were the starting point of this story, and they just kept happening. I didn’t realise how much detail there was in the ‘before’ I thought the focus was going to be on Google Earth and almost be a documentary of how it worked and how adult Saroo used it, but it wasn’t that. It was the heartbreaking story of 5 year old Saroo where his biggest ordeals came. I will not go into specifics because one it is said to watch, let alone re-tell and second you should watch the movie to get the full idea of what you’re reading here. With each event that happened I thought to myself, okay now his going to come across an Australian family and he’s going to get adopted….something else would happen, then again I would be waiting for Nicole Kidman to appear on scree….something else happened, and again, and again until Saroo was on a flight to Australia. I couldn’t believe all the things this kid had gone through at such a young age! I still can’t and he is one in so many that this happened to, happens to, because I know things like this still happen.

Reflecting after the movie I realised this movie was made to retell a story, not to make money, or make big stars bigger, or describe an old technology. The filming was impeccable the landscapes breathtaking and little Sunny holds you captivated, I can’t even compare it to anything because I can’t think of another movie that was made so beautifully, that I’ve seen, the one thing I want to keep saying again and again is that it was filmed to speak to people not just ‘cause’ or for status. I just don’t get that vibe from it, it feels so honest and open and serves as a reality check to many, that life has it’s challenges but we push through, when you think your life is hard, know that there are 100s and 1000s of people doing worse. It shows how cruel this world can be, and then how wonderful it can be when one thing goes your way. Be grateful for what you have, and help those who wish they could have the simple things in life.

Also a side note and quick mention as to how captivated I was by the movie, neither in the trailer nor whilst watching the movie did I once ask myself why it was called ‘Lion’, it wasn’t until the very last scene of the movie where it was revealed, really loved that touch and story, one that Saroo himself (I don’t think) knew about until later in life.

Being an Oscar nominated movie I have to mention three main awards; Best Supporting Actor, Actress and Best Picture. This is the first time I have seen a Nicole Kidman movie and I must say she played the role well, but then again she was acting from experience, as a woman who adopted even though she could have her own children. That scene when she discusses this with Saroo was one of the best scenes in the movie, I don’t know if she can win from just that though.
Dev Patel can he win? He better win because his entire performance was just incredible. First and foremost his accent! Now I’m Australian and have heard people, actors, family members try to put on an Australian accent and they always go for a ‘bogan’ strong slang filled accent. Almost as if I were to do an American accent I would either go Southern or New York, base it off stereotypes. But Dev did it better than our actual accent, the training and dedication that would have taken is immense, he pulled it off brilliantly.
Then you have his acting which has clearly improved, for a second I thought it was a biopic! Outstanding emotion, and warm presence on screen you want to reach through and help him. I definitely think he can win this and hope he does.
Best Picture, well I haven’t watched any other Best Picture nominated movie, or Oscar nominated movie for that matter, I don’t think I ever have – at least not before the awards themselves. So with a large amount of bias I think Lion will win this one, the footage, the counter balance between poor and rich upbringings about a third world nation and the ‘lucky country’ how can it not win?

– ME

“I’ll find my way, find my way home”
– Sia

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