Review: Lion will move the hardest of hearts

Lion starring Dev Patel. Picture: A Long Way Home Productions

Lion starring Dev Patel. Picture: A Long Way Home Productions - Credit: Archant

Based on the real life account of Saroo Brierley and adapted from his book ‘A Long Way Home’ Lion tells the story of how, as a 5 year old living in India, he was separated from his mother by accidentally boarding a decommissioned train.

Dev Patel stars in LION

Dev Patel stars in LION - Credit: Archant

Transported to Calcutta 1,500 miles away, he is eventually adopted and relocated to Tasmania.

The first half of the film covers these traumatic events with 5-year-old Saroo being played faultlessly by child actor Sunny Pawar, who fought off competition from 2,000 other boys to win the role.

The fact that these are real events makes the first half all the more heart wrenching.

The pace slows up in the second half of the film as focus moves to the present day and follows a now adult Saroo, played by Dev Patel, living in Melbourne and searching for his long lost family via the use of his laptop.


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The second half isn’t quite as engaging as the first, but the task of making someone spending hours on ‘Google Earth’ interesting enough for a feature film is a tall order.

Patel’s performance is undeniably good, as he becomes obsessed with finding answers, to the detriment of his relationship with girlfriend Rooney Mara.

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It’s not difficult to see why his performance has generated Oscar attention.

The film itself has six nominations for this year’s ceremony, including best supporting actor nods for Patel and co-star Nicole Kidman who plays Saroo’s Australian adoptive mother.

Overall debut director Garth Davis delivers a captivating film with a real emotional punch.

The bitter sweet finale using footage of the actual people involved will move even the hardest of hearts.

Definitely worth seeking out for fans of true life drama.

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