Review by Justin Waldman for Mr. Will Wong
The holidays usually mean an onslaught of ‘Feel-Good Films’. Some of them feel like Oscar bait, while others feel more genuine in their intentions. Lion unfortunately veers a bit more to the first category. While there is certainly merit to the Film with some strong performances, the Movie as a whole feels a bit deliberate. Lion, however on the whole still succeeds as a story.
The Movie focuses on Saroo (Sunny Pawar – young version, Dev Patel – modern day) as he tries to find the family he left behind in India after getting lost in the streets of Calcutta. Fast-forward 25 years to where Saroo has been adopted by a Australian family consisting of Sue (Nicole Kidman) and John (David Wenham). Not to say that Saroo’s new life isn’t incredible. He is successful and has a group of friends and he even has a girlfriend, Lucy (Rooney Mara) but something still is missing. He still misses his biological family, understandably, and wants answers. He wants to remember where he came from he wants to find them and tell them that he is alive and well. The problem is that he cannot remember where he is from, until modern day technology allows him to do the unthinkable. Google Maps plays a crucial role in the Film because it is how Saroo manages to map out India, and Calcutta and try and retrace the steps that he took 25 years ago to find his family. After all that time though, the question has to be asked if it is even possible to find family when you don’t even know where to begin?
The incredibly-strong performances from both Dev Patel and Sunny Pawar truly carry the weight of the Movie. Patel surely will be a fore this coming Awards Season. While you have outstanding actresses Nicole Kidman and Rooney Mara, they are more in the background, but nonetheless they still manage to shine and shine bright when they are on-screen.
A slight downfall here is the non-linear manner in which the story is told. Frequent jumping back and forth in timelines, takes the audience out of the Movie and haltering momentum.
eOne Films release LION Friday, December 9, 2016.