Dev Patel stars as Saroo, a native of India who is adopted by an Australian couple after getting seperated by his family. Years later, he starts to look for his hometown.
Based on a true story of Saroo Brierley and directed by Top of the Lake‘s Garth Davis, Lion stars Patel, Rooney Mara, David Wenham, and Nicole Kidman. The cast also includes Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Priyanka Bose, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Deepti Naval, and introduces Sunny Pawar. Screenwriter Luke Davies adapts Saroo Brierley’s memoir, A Long Way Home, for the screen.
Saroo (Sunny Pawar) is five years old and after falling asleep at the train station, he starts looking for his brother and finds himself over a thousand kilometers from home in Kolkata (Calcutta). He finds himself living on the street and soon ends up in an orphanage.
It’s at the orphanage where he eventually winds up at the home of an Australian couple (Nicole Kidman and David Wenham) in Hobart. His adoptive parents give him a better life than he would have got in India but it just wasn’t the same. He aches to find home again.
As Saroo gets older, he doesn’t want to hurt their feelings but for the sake of his own emotions, he needs to be reunited with his biological family. It’s not until he happens upon a meeting while at an international hospitality college that he starts searching and girlfriend Lucy (Rooney Mara) plays a part in this. With the technology coming a long way over time, Saroo uses his memories and turns to Google Earth to find his hometown and eventually find his family. He wants to know what happened to his older brother, Guddu.
“It’s one of those stories where it is virtually impossible not to move people when you talk to them about it,” says producer Emile Sherman. “It’s an incredible story that gives everyone tingles up their spine. It taps into something primal in us as human beings – the need to find home and the need to know who you are.”
It’s true. If you aren’t moved by Saroo’s story, well, I don’t know what to say. Saroo’s emotional bond with his family is one that never went away. I didn’t want to see him give up on the search for his home and family.
The filmmakers had to make an important decision on how to tell Saroo’s story. Is it one that should be told in flashbacks or in sequential order? By opting for the latter, it made for better storytelling and filmmaking. It also sends the audience on an epic adventure.
The Weinstein Company opened Lion on November 25th. It expanded to 500 theaters on December 25th and expanded again this weekend to 525 theaters.