Sometimes, the simple power of the story overtakes your criticism. While Lion has some moments that I would question, there is no doubt that the end result of the narrative is simply engrossing and human.
Directed by Garth Davis, Lion tells the amazing true story of Saroo, a young indian man who was adopted by Australians as a child, only to venture out to find what happened to his family he lost as a five-year old (with much help from the wonders of Google Earth). The film starts with Saroo as a child (played by a wonderful newcomer named Sunny Pawar). He ventures out with his brother Guddu (Abhishek Bharate) to gather food when circumstance force Saroo to be taken away. Some of these scenes do tend to drag on a bit for me, but Pawar is more than up to the task of carrying it all on his small shoulders. Eventually, he meets his foster parents, played by David Wenham and Nicole Kidman. They also adopt another child, Mantosh.
The second half of the film is showing Saroo as an adult (now played by Dev Patel). He juggles trying to cope with his family problems (his brother Mantosh is rather uncontrollable), he wishes not to tell his parents about his yearning to find his birth mother, and even has trouble expressing himself to his girlfriend Lucy (Rooney Mara). All the actors handle themselves well, especially Patel and Kidman. There is a scene between these two that I felt was a little unneeded at first, but it is affective nonetheless. It reminds us that Nicole Kidman is not a past Oscar winner for nothing.
Parents, the movie does have some rather mature themes, and a bit of sensuality. There is not much swearing I can remember. Basically, middle school and up would be ok.
Again, I mention that there are some parts of the movie that did not work for me and may have dragged on, but by the end (which I won’t give away), I did not care. It is still a heck of a story that is more than worth being told.
(Note: The meaning of the title Lion was something I was questioning, but it does make sense by the end).
Overall: Three and a Half Stars *** 1/2