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Have your heart stolen by Oscar-nominated film Lion

Karina Lloyd, Associate Editor-in-Chief

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For those of you who watched the 2017 Oscars, you may remember the moment when host Jimmy Kimmel lifted smiling 8-year-old actor Sunny Pawar into the air and reenacted the famous scene from Disney’s The Lion King. This was the first time some, including myself, had heard of the young and endearing actor from Mumbai. Pawar starred in the Oscar-nominated film Lion and has stolen the hearts of many who have watched the movie. It doesn’t take long to fall for the cute little boy and his charming presence. After watching Pawar and Kimmel’s Oscars moment, I decided to see the film for myself. Be prepared to cry within the first 10 minutes of Pawar’s heart-wrenching performance.  

Lion is based on the book A Long Way Home, which recounts the incredible true story of Saroo Brierley, a little boy who was separated from his impoverished family after getting lost in an Indian train station. Saroo ends up far from home in the city of Calcutta, where he is adopted by an Australian couple (played by David Wenham and Nicole Kidman). It isn’t until 20 some years later, with the help of Google Earth, that Saroo pieces his past memories of his life in India back together in an effort to locate his birth mother and birth family.

The film does a wonderful job of appealing to human emotion while presenting real life issues like the large population of missing children in India as well as the beauty of adoption. Pawar delivers a heartbreaking performance as he becomes the face of the thousands of children who go missing each year in India. The stellar performance left me wondering about these other children in India who have gone missing and how their stories may not have ended as well as Saroo’s. The scenes between Kidman’s character Sue Brierley and the older Saroo (played by Dev Patel) are filled with raw emotion and depict the love between parent and child. As someone who was adopted, I particularly enjoyed the way the film depicts this relationship. The script does not diminish Kidman’s character despite the fact that Saroo is searching for his birth family. The film addresses the fact that Saroo’s adoptive parents are his parents, and nothing can change what they mean to each other.

The cinematography is breathtaking, and I found it particularly enjoyable to see the beautiful sights of India and Australia. The film’s score, composed by the team of Dustin O’Halloran and Hauschka ,pulls viewers in and is the perfect complement to Gath Davis’ superb directing. The only negative thing I have to say about the film is that for many, the plot is a bit slow paced. If you’re not someone who tends to immerse themselves in the beauty and meaning of every shot, you’ll be waiting for young Saroo to find a loving home for quite some time.

Overall, I think the movie is extremely well done and is the kind of film that will resonate with parents and children alike. Lion is a great example of an inspirational story that caught the eye of the Academy but has not been widely seen by the general public. I strongly recommend if you’re looking for a heartwarming story to check out Lion before it leaves theaters.

Check out the trailer for the film here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RNI9o06vqo

Director: Garth Davis Cast: Sunny Pawar, Dev Patel, Rooney Mara, Nicole Kidman, David Wenham, Priyanka Bose Time: 129 minutes  Release Date: Nov. 25, 2016

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Have your heart stolen by Oscar-nominated film Lion