Lion (2016)

Lion Movie Review…………………………………………………………….

Lion Movie Review

Lion is a 2016 drama film directed by Garth Davis and starring Dev Patel, Sunny Pawar and Nicole Kidman. It is one of the year’s best films.

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Every night I imagine that I’m walking those streets home

and I know every single step of the way, and I whisper in her ear – I’m here

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Lion Movie Review…………………………………………………………….

It follows a true story of an Indian boy from a small village who, while waiting for his brother on the street, boards a train and accidentally ends up in Calcutta. Eventually, he gets adopted by an Australian couple and he decides to search for his village and his mother with the help of Google Earth.

The story is so powerful, human and extremely emotional that I was blown away by it. The fact that it is real and that it did in fact happen only bolstered its power to me. Those final images of the real people were so moving to watch. This is one of the rare movies that made me cry and I almost never cry watching movies. That’s how powerful it is. But the reunion scene just made me tear up how wonderful and emotional it was. Truly one of the best scenes of any 2016 film.

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Lion Movie Review…………………………………………………………….

I loved the film’s structure. Some may say it is problematic that the second half is more dramatic and slower than the first one, but I liked that quite a bit. To me the second half is even stronger than the first one as I thought that his journey as a small child maybe could have been trimmed down a bit. But I still was fascinated watching it. He truly had a crazy, difficult life and following him from one city to another, encountering many bad people and terrible poverty and situations on the street was devastating to behold.

But I loved the second half. It featured excellent dialogue and it just phenomenally put into perspective the issue of adoption. When Kidman’s character makes that speech why she chose to adopt, well, that is probably where the movie shines the most in terms of sophistication and message. She tells us that having biological children is actually a very selfish decision as you bring a child to an overly populated planet when you can help a child that is already born and struggles in poverty and is parentless.

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Lion Movie Review…………………………………………………………….

The movie showcases how difficult and emotionally exhausting adoption can be which is here best exemplified in their second adopted son Mantosh who is very problematic as he has self-harm and anger issues. As Saroo states – by adopting them, she also adopted their previous, troubled and difficult histories. Yes, the movie truthfully showcases both the pros and cons of adoption, but it still ends it on a positive note, by telling us that it is still a beautiful, human thing to do and I was just inspired by that sentiment.

I loved the characters, so well realized and having read the interviews, it is evident that real Saroo and others are happy with this adaptation which is another proof of its greatness. It is faithful. He was great here, but I liked his girlfriend quite a bit too and their relationship was well developed. Everyone else was excellent, but the highlight is Sue naturally as she is such an inspirational person and a beautiful sole whom I respect a lot.

The acting in Lion is as great as the various accolades have been telling us. Rooney Mara and David Wenham are quite good, but Priyanka Bose was superb in the mother’s role. I dislike Dev Patel personally, but I couldn’t deny how superb he was here, delivering a very good, respectable performance.

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Lion Movie Review…………………………………………………………….

However, Sunny Pawar is so underappreciated here. He gave such an amazing performance for a child actor and he even stole the show from Dev Patel as he was more memorable in the first half. A very underrated child performance once again. But to me Nicole Kidman is easily the standout actress here. Wow, she was fantastic and she probably delivered the year’s finest supporting performance. She was subtle when needed and emotional when the dialogue and the scene demanded. Her speech sequence is really something special.

Lion is also beautifully made. The cinematography here is absolutely stunning and is probably the year’s best looking and best shot movie. Whether in India or in Australia, it was beautiful to witness, but also realistic in its sequences. I loved that it didn’t shy away from Indian problems such as child sex trade and slavery, both presented here.

As for the direction, it is very good and especially great given that it is a directorial debut for Garth Davis. The film features a terrific script which is not only moving, but thematically rich and it features realism and a great message regarding adoption. It truly is an inspirational movie, but also a universal one as almost anyone can relate to the search for parents, coming from a poor area etc.

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Lion Movie Review…………………………………………………………….

I found the dialogue to be terrific as well with a couple of excellent lines and many thought-provoking discussions. The film is also very well edited which was quite an accomplishment having in mind its difficult to adapt structure. Lion was always riveting to me and never at all slow. It is almost perfectly made and I rarely say that. Really, there is nothing wrong with this movie, at least nothing comes to my mind right now when writing this review, though that may change upon second viewing. But for now, it is a great movie that deserved much more accolades than it got and it is quite possibly the best 2016 has to offer.

Emotional, smart, realistic and just so powerful, Lion is a masterpiece of a film. It features such terrific performances with Nicole Kidman being particularly outstanding, it is beautifully shot, so well edited and directed and it features excellent, thought-provoking dialogue and a great message. It showcases both pros and cons of adoption, but that eventually it is a beautiful decision. Everyone can relate to this movie as Saroo’s journey is amazing and heartbreaking and it is all the more powerful having in mind that it really happened. It is one of the rare movies that made me cry and it is quite possibly the very best film of 2016.

My Rating – 5

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Posted in 2010s, 2016, Biography, Drama, FILM DECADES, Highest-Rated Movies, MOVIE REVIEWS and tagged , , , , , , , .

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