Another movie out this winter with a bit of "buzz" around it, 'Lion' profiles the 25-year span of an Indian boy named Saroo (Sunny Powar/Dev Patel).
Living in poor conditions in an area of India, Saroo and his big brother Guddu (Abhishek Bharate) do what they can in order to find odd jobs to provide themselves and their mother with food. I'm not entirely sure exactly what these "jobs" were, but from what I gathered, they often stole coal from trains and traded the coal for sustenance.
One night, Guddu heads out for work and Saroo follows him, only to be separated at a train station because Saroo gets tired and takes a nap on a bench. Meanwhile, Guddu leaves him there to go ask about work.
When Saroo wakes up, the station is dark and abandoned, so he hops onto a train for a more comfortable sleep. The train then takes off with him on it, and he ends up lost and homeless, only to be adopted by an Australian couple, Sue and John Breirly (Nicole Kidman and David Wenham, respectively).
20 years later, a grown-up Saroo starts to get memories of his former life, including his mother, brother, sister, and his overall disappearance, so he takes it upon himself to seek out his old family that he was separated from when he was just 5 years old.
There was certainly some strength to the film, but I'd be lying if I said I thought it was all that great. I don't wanna give the wrong impression. It really is a pretty strong story about the determination and perseverance of one man, and the fact that it's true makes it a little more special. But somehow I was underwhelmed, and I dunno if I can put my finger on exactly why.
There were parts of it that were thrown in there for the sole purpose of making one feel uncomfortable, it seemed. You know, a scene that kinda makes you squirm and then it's never brought back up? But I guess it's to show the dangers that homeless children in India have to face. Or there's a scene that involves an accident Saroo was in as a kid, and it's just kinda thrown at you as if the movie said "Oh yeah! BTW, this happened too!" and it's all for a relatively insignificant reason.
But what about the good? Why are people loving this one so much? Well, it IS an inspirational story, if nothing else. The acting was very well executed, and the direction was very well done for newcomer Garth Davis. There's a little part of me that hopes to see him nominated for Best Director, just because it was very well done for a first attempt. This, I cannot deny.
Anyway, this might end up being one of those titles that just wasn't totally for me. It's doing well enough that you should probably check it out for yourselves and see what you think. I was underwhelmed, but who knows, maybe you'll find something in it that I didn't.