Dev Patel, Sunny Pawar, Rooney Mara, Nicole Kidman, David Wenham, Abhishek Bharate, Divian Ladwa, Keshav Jadhav, Priyanka Bose, Deepti Naval, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Nawazuddin Siddiqui
Five-year-old Saroo (Sunny Pawar) gets lost on the street of Calcutta, and survives many challenges before being adopted by a couple (Nicole Kidman and David Wenham) in Australia. 25 years later, he (Dev Patel) sets out to find his lost family.
Although I've seen it on television over and over again for a month or so, the trailer wasn't enough to make me watch "Lion". I thought it was going to be the beautiful on paper but poorly executed film that ends up being a mess. Then I read tons of people saying how beautiful and moving this film was so I decided to give it a shot. But the one I've seen was not a flawless film. Emotional, maybe, beautiful, sure, but exceptional, not really.
The story - which is based on a true story - is actually compelling and gripping and I found myself immediately engrossed with it. The problem was the execution, just like I thought. While the first part is fantastic, emotional and so on and so forth and feels very authentic because of the use of Hindi, the second part is just flat. It doesn't flow very well, it lacks emotions and it features a romance that doesn't add anything to the story and the Australian part ends up being a little boring.
That big difference between first and second half highlights one big mistake from the filmmakers, the decision to bring to the screen a chronological story rather than a non-linear one, which only puts furthermore under the spotlight the weak part of the script.
Luckily "Lion" doesn't have any other major issues other than that. The cinematography is excellent, breathtaking at times, especially the filming in India. The musical score is also excellent and adds an extra emotional layer to the film.
And then there's the acting. It is easily the best part of the second half, with Dev Patel delivering a great performance as adult Saroo, a confused young man is search of his family, and Nicole Kidman who barelly has some screen time, but that steals the show with her few scenes as a loving and devoted mother. The best performance though, for me, comes from Sunny Pawar who plays 5-year-old Saroo. He is astonishing, and I feel like he doesn't get enough credits for that performance.