Entertainment

MOVIE REVIEW: Lion leaves a lasting impression

Nicole Kidman and Sunny Pawar in a scene from the movie Lion.
Nicole Kidman and Sunny Pawar in a scene from the movie Lion. Mark Rogers

I REMEMBER watching the emotional reunion of Saroo Brierley and his birth mother on 60 Minutes.

It was an amazing story of determination against impossible odds.

After tagging along with his older brother to the train station near their central Indian village, five-year-old Saroo accidentally fell asleep on an empty carriage. When he woke up, the train had already transported him to a foreign landscape.

He would eventually make his way off the carriage in the bustling metropolis of Calcutta (now Kolkata), where he dodged the many dangers of the streets to eventually end up in an orphanage which matched him with a Tasmanian couple looking to adopt.

He grew up in Hobart, soon forgetting his native Hindi language. But he never forgot his Indian family and with the advent of Google Earth he began tracing every train line out of Calcutta in the hope of finding the landmarks he fleetingly remembered from his journey.

Nicole Kidman and Sunny Pawar in a scene from the movie Lion.
Nicole Kidman and Sunny Pawar in a scene from the movie Lion. Mark Rogers

One day he struck gold and travelled back to Khandwa, in Madhya Pradesh, 25 years after his disappearance to find his mother Kamla and his younger sister still living in the same neighbourhood.

I shed a tear or two at the 60 Minutes story. It was touching to see his two mothers, strangers who didn't even speak the same language, embracing each other as family.

Watching Lion, the big-screen adaptation of Saroo's memoir A Long Way Home, was like a full-blown waterworks show.

I really wasn't prepared for the emotional response I had to this film.

Lion, the feature film debut by Australian director Garth Davis, chronicles young Saroo's disappearance, his adoption and the years of his online search for his birth family.

Newcomer Sunny Pawar, who was five years old when he landed the role, is absolutely captivating, carrying the first half of the film with the support of Abhishek Bharate, who plays Saroo's older brother Guddu.

Nicole Kidman and Sunny Pawar in a scene from the movie Lion.
Nicole Kidman and Sunny Pawar in a scene from the movie Lion. Mark Rogers


The scenes where Saroo is locked in the empty passenger train, alone and frightened, as it chugs its way to Calcutta are particularly emotional despite the lack of dialogue.

Even though you know Saroo will survive his ordeal and eventually get adopted, it doesn't stop you from tensing up and fearing for him as he faces challenge after challenge with only his instinct to protect him.

I hardly even noticed the first half of this film is entirely in Hindi with English subtitles. It's a brave move from Davis, but one that adds to the authenticity of the childhood scenes filmed in India and what must have been a culture shock for young Saroo when he arrived in Australia.

Dev Patel does an equally great job carrying the second half of the film, which follows Saroo's budding romance with university classmate Lucy (Rooney Mara) and his turbulent relationship with his adoptive brother Mantosh as well as his tireless Google Earth search.

Nicole Kidman and Sunny Pawar in a scene from the movie Lion.
Nicole Kidman and Sunny Pawar in a scene from the movie Lion. Mark Rogers


Nicole Kidman also gives a powerful performance as Saroo's adoptive mum Sue.

The film's final scenes, when Saroo finally reunites with his mother Kamla, are understated yet powerful.

Davis doesn't tug on your heartstrings because he doesn't need to. The astonishing, real-life story does that for him. And thankfully, he lets it speak for itself rather than drowning it in sugary sap.

Lion opens nationally on January 19.

Lion

Stars: Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, Sunny Pawar, David Wenham, Rooney Mara.

Director: Garth Davis

Rating: PG

Verdict: 4.5/5 stars


 

Topics:  dev patel lion movies nicole kidman the movie lion



Coffs tourism overhaul announced

NEW FACE FOR TOURISM: The visitor centre at the Big Banana will soon be closing its doors.

Coffs tourism undergoes a facelift as part of new council strategy.

A special kind of love

Petbarn Coffs Harbour store manager, Adam Rose.

Find unconditional love this valentines day in a four legged friend.

Is alcohol advertising in sport influencing our children?

There are calls today for a national conversation on the impact of alcohol advertising in sports like cricket.

Royal College of Physicians opposes alcohol advertising

Local Partners

Coffs tourism overhaul announced

The tourism sector of Coffs is undergoing a facelift as part of Coffs Council's new tourism strategy, with a variety of new developments announced today.


Fans invited to meet Jets at training session

FLYING IN: Catch the Newcastle Jets at the free training session at the international stadium on Thursday.

Catch up with the Newcastle Jets at the free training session

Legendary batsman opens up

STAR: Sir Viv Richards.

Cricket hero Sir Viv Richards will tell his tale at Coffs race club

Puppetry of the Penis secrets revealed ahead of show

The famed Puppetry of the Penis is coming to the Sunshine Coast for shows in Noosa and Caloundra.

WARNING: This interview contains adult themes and traces of nuts

Nicole reveals her biggest parenting challenges

Actress Nicole Kidman.

Nicole Kidman says her kids are ‘deeply attuned' to her moods.

Suicide Squad director reveals his regrets about the film

Margot Robbie in a scene from the movie Suicide Squad.

DIRECTOR of superhero flick on what he’d change about ‘flawed’ film.

Meet the new Marco on MasterChef Australia: Yotam Ottolenghi

Israeli-born, London-based chef Yotam Ottolenghi will be a guest chef for a week on the 2017 season of MasterChef Australia.

AFTER Marco’s defection to Seven, MasterChef signs a true food hero.

Big Bang spin-off to be about kid Sheldon

Jim Parsons in a scene from the TV series The Big Bang Theory.

Actor Jim Parsons has dished on an upcoming Big Bang Theory spin-off

How Adam Brand’s Nashville dream fell apart

Country music singer Adam Brand talks about how heartbreak stopped him chasing his Nashville dream.

SINGER reveals how heartbreak stopped him from chasing his dream.

What's on the small screen this week

Grant Denyer will host Channel 10's Australia Day concert from the Sydney Opera House.

STAR-studded Australia Day celebrations and fascinating docos.

Stockland's $150m pitch: Build it and they will come

Gladstone Marina. The Gladstone Regional Council offers a range of exciting job opportunities. Photo Contributed: Murray Ware.

Here's why we need to see Stockland upgrade start soon.

Steady growth in a Coffs buyer's market

Boambee stood out as the region's most expensive suburb for houses with a $650,000 median sale price.

Lower price ranges stand out as Coffs property best sellers

Thousands of jobs part of $1b retirement village project

THIS YEAR: An artist impression of the new Aveo retirement village in Springfield.

Aveo Springfield unveiled this month, homes ready by July

Our coastline suburbs offer cheapest beach living in NSW

GOING CHEAP: You can snap up a property at Nambucca Heads for as little as $95,000.

Could you imagine buying a beach property for less than $100,000?

KNIFE-EDGE: The housing tightrope we now face

Even the smallest interest rate rise will be hard for some to handle.

One if five home owners at risk, according to new analysis

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!