To bring you up to speed, the movie is based on a true story about a young boy living in Western India in the 1980's who falls asleep on an empty train one night. When he wakes up the train is traveling and he can't get off. A few days later he is in Eastern India lost, confused and speaking a different language. Eventually he ends up in an orphanage and is adopted by an Australian couple who raise him in Tasmania.
Twenty years later his memory is triggered and realizes that he doesn't know where he is from and what has happened to his family. Since this was the time when Google Earth came online, he attempts to trace back the train ride to find his hometown. He has a memory of a water tower at the train station, but not much more than that.
Watching this film, I was reminded of Salaam Bombay! the 1988 Best Foreign Language nominee from India. Please note this is a very depressing movie, but very fascinating to watch. The stories are parallel to Lion being filmed during the same time frame, but on different sides of the country. Just shows you how difficult life is in India, especially if you are orphaned.
This movie means a lot to me because it is about adoption. When I saw the film a year ago (Yes I know that I am very behind on my blogging, but I have a good excuse. Seriously, I do!) my wife and I were in the adoption pool to become adoptive parents. Now that we are adoptive parents (Told you I had a good reason!) this movie means so much more to me.
The acting is terrific by Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman and Sunny Pawar who plays Saroo as a child in his first movie debut, is amazing. This kid is so talented and carries the first half of the movie. He even stole the show at the Oscars last year. I hope he continues as an actor, looking forward to see what he can do next. And when you see photos of the real Sue Brierley, you will see how talented Nicole Kidman is.
So this makes three of the nine I have reviewed. Let's be clear, La La Land is still last. But Lion does edge out Hidden Figures and is the best film of the year. Look, if the world was fair this would have won Best Picture, but at least we have such a great film that will last the test of time. Fifty years from now you'll be able to watch this movie and remark at how great it still is.
Here is the trailer for the film. I hope you enjoy this film as much as I did.
And if you get a chance, here is the trailer for Salaam Bombay! which you should try and find sometime. Occasionally TCM will show it during their Imports program on Sunday nights.