1F585B3A Nicole Kidman and star in LION © Long Way Home Productions 2015 Nicole Kidman and star in LION michaels@sunshinesachs.com

Lion – Movie Review

A five-year-old Indian boy named Saroo finds himself lost and thousands of miles from home. After living rough on the streets, he’s adopted by a couple in Australia. 25 years later he still longs for home and starts on a journey to find his family. So, does this Lion whimper or roar? Is it any good?If this movie was a work of Hollywood fiction, you’d be tempted to dismiss it as far-fetched. Lucky for us it’s very closely based on the best-selling memoir by Saroo BrierleyA Long Way Home. Told in a linear way, the first half of the film isn’t cluttered with unnecessary dialogue or flashbacks, giving you time to invest in and ultimately love each character. When the time comes for Saroo to move to Australia, you end up feeling as though he’s only moving further away from his true home. It reminded me of the dentist in Finding Nemo who “rescues” the “injured” fish. Are we really doing the right thing helping? The movie avoids too many obvious fish out of water (pun intended) moments and conflicted emotional tropes. There’s never really a question of which is his real home, and he doesn’t raise his fists in the air shouting “Who Am I?!?”, it’s all played truthfully and subtly.Although this is director Garth Davis‘ first big-time Hollywood feature, he’s previously cut his teeth as a renowned commercial and TV director. The skills he demonstrates, and the beauty he brings to the screen, belies his lack of feature experience. This movie is very true to the real story, down to the wardrobe, locations, and hairstyles. Dev Patel even bulked up to match Saroo’s athletic physique. After watching the film, I recommend watching the 60 Minutes story which the director was also involved with.I thought the Hollywood star power of Nicole KidmanRooney MaraDavid Wenham and Dev Patel would detract from the film’s realism. Even the casting department originally thought Patel was too obvious to play the lead, having been passed over for Life Of Pi for the same reason. However, everyone brings their A-Game, especially Kidman, who since having some work done has been harder to believe in period roles. Well forget all that, this is by far the most powerful performance of her career. You can see she’s drawn her character from a very personal place, having two adopted children herself. Young Saroo is played by newcomer Sunny Pawar, who is the most believable child actor I’ve seen in a very long time. His performance will make you crack up then turn around and break your heart. No matter what emotion he’s making you feel, he’s always captivating. He’s definitely one to keep an eye on.After being nominated for four Golden Globes, I’m not going out on a limb by saying this will do well at the Oscars. For me, this was a movie about unanswered questions and longing for home. As a son or daughter, you’ll want to call your Mum or Dad, and as a parent, you’ll hold your kids that much tighter. Hopefully, you’ll be left with the same feeling as I had, just how lucky we are.

Bring a stack of tissues… seriously… I mean it.

LION is in cinemas this Thursday, January 19.

Here’s the 60 Minutes story of Saroo if you’d like to take a look: