24 February 2017.
India, a small village, a very poor but loving family, and an incident that overturns all their lives. For the younger boy, around 4 or 5 – with the sweetest face and biggest eyes you’ll ever see – follows his brother to work, they become separated, and he ends up on a never-ending train ride which takes him thousands of miles away, to Calcutta! There he is, an instant orphan in one of the world’s poorest, most gigantic cities, bewildered and lost. And not knowing where he has come from.
Here is the true story of this child who ends up adopted by a kind Australian couple, grows up in comfort in Tasmania, and then tries to find his original family whom he lost so many years ago.
By Australian, first-time feature director Garth Davis, this heartfelt reality of love, loss and reunion will have you trying to swallow that lump in your throat or searching for tissues.
Dev Patel plays the little boy now grown-up, and he certainly has come a long way from his first foray into fame as the skinny teenager in “Slumdog Millionaire” or the hyper hotel owner in the “Marigold” films. He has transformed into a tall hunk of a fine actor, starting off last year in “The Man Who Knew Infinity”, the biopic of a brilliant Indian mathematical scholar. For me, his portrayal of the emotionally-torn son in Lion is the most Oscar-worthy performance of the year, while Nicole Kidman’s delicate performance as his adoptive mother is a grand one too.
This year seems to have been a bumper-year for excellent, informative biopics such as “Hidden Figures”, “Genius”, “Hacksaw Ridge”, “Founder” and a slew of others.
Try to catch them and be moved, for as the saying goes, “truth is stranger than fiction”. Or rather, more fascinating than fiction…
Superb **** Very Good *** Good ** Mediocre * Miserable – no stars
Neptune Ravar Ingwersen reviews film extensively for publications in Switzerland. She views 4 to 8 films a week and her aim is to sort the wheat from the chaff for readers.