It doesn’t make as much noise as the rest of the awards films, but Lion is a staggeringly powerful and human story that deserves to be heard.
This years big film contenders all come with existing expectations. You’ve watched the trailers, seen the posters, maybe even read the thought pieces about whether they’re a cinematic masterpiece/ a disgusting portrayal of misogyny or racism (delete as appropriate.) So why was it that I went into Lion knowing relatively little about it?
Maybe I’d been unobservant, maybe I’d been too complacent in letting it almost pass me by, but all I knew was that Lion was a film with Dev Patel and somewhere in the back of my head it had something to do with Google-Earth. Not exactly at the top of my list. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Now I’ll say this now. Lion isn’t likely to win many awards. That’s not because it isn’t amazing, it is. It’s just it faces a lot of tough competition from films that are simply making a bigger splash to the big names in Hollywood. If I was in charge, Lion definitely wouldn’t be walking away empty handed.
It’s big talking point is Dev Patel’s performance, which is indeed outstanding, but to me it’s certainly helped by his younger counterpart Sunny Pawar. Sunny Pawar plays a young incarnation of Saroo, with such believability and childhood innocence that we fall in love with the character straight away. This sets the scene for Dev Patel to walk away with guaranteed emotional impact in the film’s second half.
The story itself is incredible. Almost unbelievable. As I’m aiming to keep this spoiler-free I won’t go into too much detail, but it’s a story about lost identity and family, separated by great expanses of distance and more heart-breakingly time.
The film tells its story gracefully, the only fault being the structure can feel a little unsteady in the film’s later moments. These moments can be overlooked by the sheer brilliance of it’s portrayal of character.
There’s little else I can say, except to encourage you in the strongest possible terms to seek it out and watch it. You won’t regret it.