Monday Night Film Series: Lion

Category: Uncategorized 85
lion_mnfs_16Garth Davis | Australia, 2016
English, Bengali, Hindi | 118 minutes
With: Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, Rooney Mara, David Wenham, Priyanka Bose, Sunny Pawar

Lion is a 2016 Australian-American-British drama film directed by Garth Davis and written by Luke Davies, based on the non-fiction book A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierly.

Five-year old Saroo (Sunny Pawar) gets lost on a train, which takes him thousands of miles across India, away from home and family. Saroo must learn to survive alone in Kolkata, before ultimately being adopted by an Australian couple (David Wenham, Nicole Kidman). Twenty five years later, armed with only a handful of memories, his unwavering determination, and a revolutionary technology known as Google Earth, he sets out to find his lost family and finally return to his first home.

Comparisons no doubt will be made with the film that launched Patel’s career, Slumdog Millionaire, and the early sections of this sprawling drama do in fact recall the Dickensian depiction of life for poor children in India in Danny Boyle’s 2009 Oscar winner. But that movie was an exhilarating, high-energy fairy tale, while Lion is something quite different — a sober and yet profoundly stirring contemplation of family, roots, identity and home, which engrosses throughout the course of its two-hour running time.
Patel does arguably his most nuanced and heartfelt screen work to date as Saroo wrestles with conflicting loyalties — to Sue, saddened by his sudden withdrawal and by her troubles with Mantosh; to Lucy, keen to support him but increasingly shut out; and to his birth mother and brother, memories of them filling his head after being archived away in remote recesses for years.
One could quibble about the protracted stop-start depiction of his search process, which seems designed merely to delay an outcome made obvious by the film’s very existence. But there’s no denying the swelling emotions of the final act, or remaining dry-eyed during the characters’ joyous reunion.

Lion | Monday Night Film Series | Tilley Hall, Room 102, UNB Campus | March 27, 2017 – 7:30pm | See full schedule

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