Also starring: Dev Patel as boy as an adult, Nicole Kidman and David Wenham as his new parents, Rooney Mara, Diwian Ladwa.
Based on a true story which was turned into book, written by the boy himself, and now a movie.
I liked "Lion" a lot, for the most part it's gripping and packs a strong emotional punch. But the two-hour story as a whole is uneven, losing steam during its last quarter and - even worse - starting manipulating with the audience in unconvincing way.
This big shift doesn't kill the movie but the whole experience would win if adult Saroo's journey was compressed into shorter period of time. As it is, the last quarter is not quite compatible with the previous hour and a half and ends up killing the mood that has been masterfully built up and maintained almost from the start.
The adult cast offers impressive performances during that last quarter which is totally worth the awards recognition it has garnered. I am especially glad to see Nicole Kidman and Rooney Mara getting strong, well-written female characters and thus turning in more interesting work as usual for them.
But the movie makers could have easily shortened the adult Saroo's detective work part which really bogs the story down and seems to be more of an excuse to show Patel hanging around aimlessly.
He'd still have enough screen time for all those stronger acting scenes with the girlfriend and family, or just showing off his fab new looks. Watch out, girls and manlovers, he's turned into quite a heartbreaker indeed, wild hair and strong body, and all...
"The mood that has been masterfully built up and maintained almost from the start", as mentioned above, is the main reason why "Lion" turns out to be such a moving journey.
The director uses as little dialogue and talking as possible, concentrating on just showing this lost little boy wandering around - sometimes enhancing the events with not too intrusive music.
The environment becomes a character of its own - alien, dirty, sometimes hostile. Watching this little guy just trying to get by, without trying to make him act", or remind us to feel something, gives the story a lot of poetic power and unexpected dimension of depth.
Sadly they are unable to repeat or resuscitate this feeling later on, although Patel gives an strong performance of his own, as stated above.
Interestingly, 2008's "Slumdog Millionaire" - Dev Patel's breakthrough hit which also shows the shadow side of India and its childrens' lives - is also a movie of two halves, the first of which excites a lot and the second kind of kills the buzz.
So, it's a great movie for the first three quarters and just okay after that.
"Lion" is one of the frontrunners during this award season, with 60 nominations and 32 wins already under the belt. It's nominated for 6 Oscars: movie, adapted screenplay, supporting actor (Patel) and actress (Kidman), cinematography and music. Was also nominated for four Golden Globes but did not win any.
But I guess it's not political correct to put a film about a native Indian above a gay African-American
Sorry to state the truth! I am a liberal but I also believe in judging objectively and recognizing outstanding achievement.