So it turns out that this is my 100th post on Chelsea Loves Movies!!! Thank you guys for giving me enough reason to keep going for 100 posts! Here’s to 100 more!
- Directed by Garth Davis
- Starring Dev Patel, Sunny Pawar, Nicole Kidman
- Written by Luke Davies
- Rated PG-13
- 118 mins.
- Released 6 January 2017
Lion tells the story of a young boy named Saroo who wandered onto an out of commission train on an abandoned platform and ended up being taken nearly two thousand kilometers across India. He was lost for months until he was sent to an orphanage and eventually adopted by a couple in Australia. As an adult, Saroo remembers what happened to him as a child and remembers that he has a family out there somewhere and becomes obsessed with finding them.
How’s the Story?
The fact that this is a true story makes it all the more incredible, and incredible it is. This movie is yet another compelling story for 2017 for me. Pretty much from the beginning of this movie, I was absolutely invested in Saroo’s story. There was never a moment where I wasn’t entirely engrossed in the story. I am an emotional person, and this movie had me somewhere between ‘lump in the throat’ and ‘audibly sobbing dear god stop looking at me this is embarrassing, lady one row down’ the entire time. That’s how connected and well told this story was.
The only slight problem would be Rooney Mara’s character. It isn’t that I didn’t like her, I really did, and at the time I was entirely into her part in Saroo’s story, but after the movie ended, looking back, I keep asking myself was she really that necessary to include. I understand she was part of the real life story, but other than being the one Saroo is with when he remembers and having dinner with his family with her show a bit of his issues coming to a head when he upset his brother Mantosh, I just felt she was a little bit unnecessary. But remember, it’s a very slight thing. It really did nothing to damage the story as a whole at all.
How’s the Acting?
The acting in this movie was AMAZING! I cannot stress enough how incredible the little boy, Sunny Pawar, was. Oh my goodness, I haven’t seen a child act so well in a very long time. Dev Patel is nominated for an Oscar, as is Nicole Kidman, and I wouldn’t be at all upset if they both won. Before seeing this movie, I was entirely convinced nobody could touch Jeff Bridges in Hell or High Water for Best Supporting Actor, but Dev Patel winning wouldn’t bother me at all. This movie is so well acted. Which probably has to do with the next section of this review.
How’s the Writing/Directing?
They say an actor is only as good as the director, which in my experience is absolutely true. A good enough director can turn anyone into an amazing actor, and I think that this movie was incredibly directed. I talk about the acting as a nod to the directing in this film because most of the time you don’t see random small part characters that are so perfectly performed, and yet in this movie, everybody down to the smallest character is absolutely wonderful. For example, you only see young Mantosh for a few moments, and yet that kid delivered a perfect performance in the tiny scene where Sue, Tom, and Saroo meet him with his obvious discomfort and fear.
This film is an adapted screenplay, but it is absolutely incredibly written. The dialogue in this film never once feels like dialogue. It feels so real and so genuine. There are choices in storytelling in this film that are absolutely perfectly subtle, which is a very hard thing to do.
How’s the Cinematography?
This movie is so beautifully shot. Unlike a certain other film also nominated for an Oscar for cinematography, I think this film totally deserves the recognition for it’s beautiful shots. The opening alone, with the boys running through the clay hills, is so beautifully captivating. I would liken the cinematography of this film to something like Arrival or Hell or High Water in how beautiful it is. I think this film is just visually stunning and the colors are so rich and lovely.
Is It Worth Watching?
If you can’t tell from all the praises I have sung this film, it’s absolutely worth watching. The only things I felt that could make it better was showing us more about Mantosh, but just like the mention of Saroo’s girlfriend seeming a little extra but it not taking away from the story, it doesn’t take away from the story to not go into his and Saroo’s relationship more. You’re given enough of Mantosh and you see enough about Saroo’s relationship with him to understand it even if it’s not as there as it could have been.
This is a wonderful film, a beautiful story, and I genuinely haven’t ever been so emotional over a movie like this but maybe twice before. It’s happy and sad and almost ridiculously well done. This movie will wreck you emotionally and keep you sucked in the entire time. There isn’t a moment in this movie that I wasn’t entirely immersed into Saroo’s story and I don’t see how anybody who has a mom, a sibling, or just a heart could come out of this movie and not recognize its value to the world of cinema.
My Rating: 8/10