Movie Title: Lion
First Watch / Repeat Viewing
Running Time: 1 hr. and 58 min.
Who did I watch with?: Flying Solo
Where did I watch it?: Home
Lion is a beautiful movie in terms of scenery and tone. We are introduced to Saroo played by Sunny Pawar at the age of five. Performances by child actors are usually dicey, but Sunny Pawar does a phenomenal job of raising sympathy and personifying the perils for a child lost in India. Saroo’s older brother Guddu takes a job working overnight lifting heavy loads while his mother is away. Guddu had been tasked with watching his younger siblings, but Saroo insists on going with him. He gives in even though he knows he will not be able to handle the work. When they reach the station Saroo refuses to budge from a bench where he insists on taking a nap. Guddu leaves him and never comes back.
Saroo’s journey is heartbreaking. There is beauty in the setting of Kolkata, but it is mingled with poverty, and depravity in a nation that is in ways modern and in ways very backward. Extreme poverty sits in a squatters village under a highway overpass directly across the street from a modern coffee shop. India is developing the infrastructure of a modern nation, but people still routinely starve to death in extreme poverty. Saroo ends up far from home and with no way to find where he came from. So, little concern is paid to lost children, that the police turn a blind eye to children being dragged off the street and impressed into slavery. The movie also keenly demonstrates the language divisions within India as Saroo is unable to communicate with people where he becomes lost.
Saroo spends almost a year in an orphanage where he witnesses depravity and brutality much of which the viewer is left to infer. After nearly a year, Saroo is offered the prospect of being adopted by an Australian family. The picture of life in India is grim, yet somehow, his arrival in Australia is heartbreaking. You can feel the closing of a door and a chapter of his life that he may never get back.
Lion is a tearjerker. It is not a difficult movie to make predictions about, but Dev Patel’s performance as an adult Saroo is moving. He is tormented about what his life could have been and what was left behind. He is driven single-mindedly toward finding out what happened to his birth mother and his family. Ultimately, the ending is beautiful and brings the story full circle. It ends in a place that you realize they will reach, but the weight of the story makes it compelling and emotional.
Lion is an emotionally powerful true story that should not be missed. It captures a country that has stark contrasts between affluence and poverty and one story among the 80,000 children that go missing in India every year. See it.
Tomorrow’s Movie: Moonlight (2016)
Distance: 1 mile
I shaved 49 seconds off my previous one mile run. I didn’t feel particularly good today, but I got my mile in, so I will take it. Tomorrow will be a walking day.