London Film Festival: Lion Review

Other | Monday 19th December 2016 | Francesco

This week, The Weinsten Company will release one of the most anticipated movies of the season: the true story of Saroo, Lion. The movie is based on  A Long Way Home by Saroo BrierleyGarth Davis directs his first feature and he has chosen Dev Patel, Rooney Mara, Nicole Kidman and David Wenham as the main protagonists in this emotional story. Lion is not the perfect picture, but it has its great moments.

This is the story of two brothers, Guddu and Saroo. After they spend an evening together trying to get some money, the little one gets lost on a railway station and ends up on a train that leads him to Calcutta. Saroo is lost and alone in a city where he is not able to speak the language and find his way back home. People will try to kidnap him but he will finally be helped by social workers and adopted by an Australian loving family. The first part is set in India and then we jump years forward in the present timeline: Saroo is going to college, he has a girlfriend but he can't stop thinking about his origins, his family. He will try to find them with Google Earth.

Lion explores difficult but relevant themes as parenthood and family ties. Saroo loves his adoptive mother, but he can still feel a bond with the Indian mother he has lost. The story is not only focused on this dual love, but it is also the tale of these two brothers and how strong their sense of brotherhood can be.

Davis accurately depicts this heartbreaking bond, this connection that is still present after 25 years. What I really enjoyed about this movie is how powerfully the cast delivers their perfomances. Slumdog Millionaire's Dev Patel deserves an Oscar nomination because he is really the perfect actor for this role: he loves and suffers with his character. He portrays Saroo's pain brilliantly. Nicole Kidman and Rooney Mara are stunning as they usually are.  

The movie has its kind-of Oscar bating moments, but despite that you will enjoy this complex story. Just the first part and the ending are worth the ticket: you will end up being genuinely emotionally moved. Have a look at the trailer below: