“Lion” Grips the Hearts of Moviegoers

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baysidejournal.com

Actor Dev Patel’s newest performance, Lion, shines in the midst of a year of lackluster releases. Heartfelt, but not overly sentimental, Lion is divided into two parts of equal brilliance and mastery.

The first half is focused on a young boy, Saroo, who gets separated from his family in a rural Indian community. The main character finds himself adrift in the city of Kolkatta, lost, unable to speak the local Bengali language, and unable to remember the name of his hometown. He’s finds himself alone, sleeping under bridges, begging for food, and the target of potential abuse. Shot through Saroo’s eyes, the film is especially heart-wrenching for the audience as this muted and harrowing life is the reality for many Indian children.

The second half of the film covers Saroo’s adoption by an Australian couple who welcome him into their home, creating a clash of culture melded with a mutual feelings of belonging. After a tumultuous journey in India, a loving family is exactly what Saroo needs.

The movie picks up again when Saroo is a handsome young man in graduate school. At a cocktail party, he sees a popular Indian delicacy he always craved as a child but could never afford. In a sudden rush of memory, the experience brought back his difficult childhood in India. He then makes it his mission to reunite with his mother and brother. He dedicates months toward finding his mother and brother from long ago. This journey causes him to lose touch with his Australian family and girlfriend. The audience is with Saroo through these months of isolation and desperation, and we feel his pain of not quite belonging anywhere or to anyone.

Eventually he has an emotionally-charged reunion with his mother, where he learns his brother died the day he went missing. For anyone who’s lost or loved a child, this film hits home and the genuine emotion behind the storyline is really what makes “Lion” special. Sophomore Ranier Truesdale agrees. “Lion? Immaculate. I thought it was really good and well-made,” he said.

Freshman Alden Sweatman really respects the less tangible side of the film, quoting the skill of Saroo. “’Lion’ was incredible and I really enjoyed watching Dev Patel’s evolution as a major actor in Hollywood,” he said.

All of these factors – the acting, the screenplay, the plot – come into play to create a clearly superb film that shouldn’t go unwatched. This movie truly roars!