The new movie, LION, is being applauded by critics and audiences alike.
It’s based on the heart tugging true story of a five year old boy in India who gets lost a thousand miles away home.
(See my review on video at https://youtu.be/llm2RVZds9U)
Several big name actors star in the movie, but what makes LION worth seeing is the performance of Sunny Pawar as the little boy.
Pawar plays Saroo, the younger of two dirt poor young brothers who are scavenging in a rural train station.
Saroo climbs onto an out-of-service train and falls asleep. When he wakes up, he’s trapped on a speeding car that doesn’t stop until it reaches Calcutta, where people speak a different language and the desperate boy is forced to find ways to survive on the streets.
This section of the film is superb. The young actor’s face conveys his emotions perfectly.
Happily, the boy is eventually taken to an orphanage where he is adopted by an Australian couple played by Nicole Kidman and David Wenham.
There are a few scenes of Saroo with his new parents before the film jumps ahead more than 20 years. The adult Saroo is played by Dev Patel, but even his fine acting can’t keep the film at the same level of eloquence as its first section.
Saroo has all but forgotten his early life until one day at a party he sees some food that flashes him back to a moment with his brother.
Saroo: I’m starting to remember….a life I’d forgotten.
Girlfriend: You OK?
Saroo: I had another family, a mother, a brother. I can still see their faces.
And so begins a long period of agony for Saroo in which he alienates the couple who raised him as well as his girlfriend played by Rooney Mara.
Saroo: Do you have any idea what it’s like, knowing my real brother and mother spend every day of their lives looking for me?
For way too many scenes we watch as Saroo uses Google Earth and a few landmarks in his memory to try to find his home village.
But it would be almost impossible to resist the powerful emotions Saroo experiences when he finally travels there.
LION is an imperfect movie, but the story it tells is strong enough to compensate for its flaws.
Terry Hunter, Hawaii News Now. firstname.lastname@example.org