Review by Lauryn Angel
The film opens with Saroo as a boy (played by Sunny Pawar) and his brother Guddu (Abhishek Bharate) working odd jobs to help their mother Kamla (Priyanka Bose), who supports them and their sister Shekila by working as a laborer. One night, on their way to a job, Saroo is separated from Guddu and finds himself on a train across country. He ends up in another part of India, where he does not speak the language and his childish garbling of the name of his town goes unrecognized. Saroo escapes many terrible situations, but due to the language barrier, never finds his way home. Instead, he is adopted by an Australian couple, Sue (Nicole Kidman) and John (David Wenham). Saroo grows into a young man (played by Dev Patel) who is confident and successful, but haunted by memories of his past. When he hears about Google Earth, he begins his quest to find his birth family, at the risk of alienating his adopted family and his lover, Lucy (Rooney Mara).
The film is both heartbreaking and heartwarming, but it does have flaws. One is the twenty-year jump between Saroo’s adoption and his departure from the family home for a course in hotel management course – a departure which ultimately leads him to his quest for home. Skipping twenty years in Saroo’s life gives the impression that Saroo simply forgot about previous life, which seems unlikely. The second issue is with the nature of Saroo’s quest – since the journey was conducted via Google Earth, most of his search involves staring at a computer screen and highlighting a map, which is not exactly riveting to watch.
Still, Dev Patel does a nice job of conveying Saroo’s angst and frustration as he tries to reconcile his present concept of himself as a middle-class Australian with his memories of growing up in poverty in India.
LION which arrives on Blu-ray, DVD and On Demand April 11 and on Digital HD now.