The real-life story of Indian-Australian Saroo Brierley and his memoir A Long Way Home is an emotionally earnest journey about family and identity. In Lion, Dev Patel starring as Saroo—alongside his younger self played by a fantastic and precocious Sunny Pawar—proves to be a striking lead and vessel for director Garth Davis' adaptation of a lost boy turned man separated from his family and raised far away in his transplanted home of Australia.
Davis and screenwriter Luke Davies emphasize the struggles of blended families slowly veering into the territory of inspirational melodrama. It’s an engaging film full of heart-wrenching real-life drama and fine but underwritten supporting performances from Rooney Mara and Nicole Kidman as Saroo’s long-suffering girlfriend and emotional adoptive mother.
Lion reinforces its themes of cultural isolation while exploring impoverished life in India contrasted with the privilege and emptiness of globalization elsewhere. Saroo longs to reclaim his past and choose his future freeing himself of emotional baggage. The talented cast and fun use of Google Earth lift what could have easily been a hollow adaptation of an incredible true story.
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