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Published January 17th 2017
This Cross Cultural Story is Making Waves Around the world
Lion begins from the perspective of Saroo, one of three children of a single mother, living in poverty in rural India. For the first chapter of the film we are shown life in India through the eyes of a five year old Saroo, lost in Calcutta. These pictures provide a vivid step into the mind of Saroo, the memories that stayed with him even as an adult in Australia.
Skimming over many years, the film picks up in an environment that will be familiar to its Australian audience —- the ocean — with Saroo now a young adult. The familiarity of this scene is one of many examples where viewers are drawn into the story. In a multi cultural society, the characters are familiar, but the story is one that takes viewers on a journey to many unfamiliar places.
While the story is intensely personal, the idea of displaced people is one that is growing more and more common. Lion follows Saroo's mission to find his birth family, and the struggles that he faced as he was torn between his two lives. Ultimately, the story is about Saroo's identity, and how those questions changed his relationships and his life. Lion also touches on issues of privilege, nationality, and family bonds that are relevant to today's world.
Nicole Kidman shines alongside Dev Patel
Through masterful directing and some fantastic acting, Lion rings with authenticity. The cast spent time with the real Saroo and his family prior to filming, and they bring the reality of those people with them. Nicole Kidman and Dev Patel convey a great emotional depth and a sense of vulnerability, and viewers can't help but be absorbed with the unique mother-son relationship. There is a consistent spirit to the movie, a single mindedness that echoes Saroo's search. While there is a tense atmosphere throughout, the passion of the characters and well executed filming keep it refreshing and warm. Thankfully, there was no need to cheapen it with deliberate comedic quirks. It is the authenticity that makes this film shine.
Along with the promotion of the film, Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman are also working with several organisations that aim to support the many thousands of kids that become lost in India. For more information on how to support their cause go here.
Thanks to Show Films First and Event Cinemas Innaloo for giving me the opportunity to view this film. Lion will be showing at cinemas across Perth. Visit the websites for individual screening times.