Directed by Garth Davis
Running Time 118 Minutes, Rated PG-13
2.5 Mitch’s out of 5
The story of Saroo Brierley is an extraordinary one. Saroo, impoverished and only five years old is tragically separated from his family when he gets stuck in a train that goes 1,000 miles to Calcutta. Unable to speak the language and with no way to find his way back home, he is eventually put in an orphanage until he is adopted by a well off Australian couple Jon (David Wenham) and Sue Brierley (Nicole Kidman who is truly terrific here, deserving award attention). Eventually a grown up Sarro, played by Dev Patel (who looks like he’s been lifting) is reminded of these past transgressions and sets out to find his biological family.
I appreciated that Saroo’s childhood and the journey he goes on isn’t quick lived, as it actually takes its time for us to try to appreciate what it would be like for a five year old to be on his own in a foreign land. This takes up the first half or so of the film and not coincidentally enough this is the film’s compelling half. I’m not sold on Dev Patel’s acting yet, and as the older Saroo, his brooding and distancing himself when he sets out for his Indian family actually distances us the audience from the story. This is just as equal a directing problem from Garth Davis and script problem from Luke Davies screenplay that’s adapted from Brierley’s book “A Long Way Home”. And as for the ending, which of course is a beautiful thing in real life, but in the film it comes across as either happenstance or divine intervention and neither of these themes were set up at anytime prior in the film.
“Lion” has heart but a rocky path about it.