Now on Blu-ray: The Oscar Nominated Drama of ‘Lion’

GameStop, Inc.

Best Picture Nominees Ranked

Garth Davis scored six Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, for his directorial debut Lion, an adaptation of the incredible true story of Saroo Brierley from his book A Long Way Home. While certainly a good movie, I don’t know if it really warranted that level of praise but much of that could be attributed to executive producer Harvey Weinstein, who has a long track record of getting unexpected movies nominated for awards. Now Lion is on Blu-ray and the story of a young man’s journey from India to Australia and back to India in search of his identity can tug on the heartstrings of your parents and grandparents.

In an impoverished corner of India, young Saroo (Sunny Pawar) scavenges with his brother Guddu (Abhishek Bharate) in the hopes of finding something to provide for the family. One fateful evening, Saroo waits for his brother who never arrives. The young boy sneaks onto a train to get some sleep and awakes to find the train in motion, barreling down the tracks. The 5-year-old child seeks help to find his way home and nobody is able to determine where he came from. Eventually, Saroo is adopted by John (David Wenham) and Sue Brierley (Nicole Kidman), who take the young boy to their native Australia. Years later, Saroo (Dev Patel) is fully grown and attending college. He soon finds himself a girlfriend in Lucy (Rooney Mara) in a hotel management class. When Saroo encounters other Indian classmates it stirs an identity crisis in the young man, wondering just where his cultural identity lies. It then sets him on a path to find his home using the emerging technology of Google Earth to create a search radius. Saroo soon embarks on the journey of a lifetime in search of the family he lost on that one night all those years ago.

The first half of the film that tracks the young Saroo’s lost journey through India is incredibly heartbreaking cinema. Sunny Pawar is an adorable young actor but the despair of being separated from his family and his anxiety breaks through his cute little veneer. These scenes really illustrate a failure of the countries institutions with its impoverished youths, many of whom are shuffled between orphanages before being adopted.

As Saroo’s adoptive parents, David Wenham and Nicole Kidman gives strong performances that are overflowing with empathy. Their home gets a bit more crowded when the Brierley’s adopt another Indian Mantosh (played in his youth by Keshav Jadhav and a grown adult by Divian Ladwa). Mantosh struggles with behavioral issues that seem to stem from a form of mental illness, but it creates an uneasy dynamic in the Brierley household with Mantosh jealous of his adoptive brother’s success.

Where Lion runs into trouble is when Saroo begins searching for his geographical origins. It leads to a situation where Garth Davis’ film become obsessed with the nature of his search and not the internal struggle between Saroo’s cultural identity. Whether fiction or non-fiction, there’s something inherently un-cinematic about watching a character use Google to solve the story’s central issue. Saroo’s emerging obsession with finding his roots causes a number of rifts in his life, including fracturing his relationship with Lucy and creating a sadness within his adoptive mother. It leads to one of the most heartbreaking scenes in the film where Sue tearfully confesses that her and her husband decided to adopt instead of having their own children. It wasn’t a matter of biological necessity and you can see the emotional devastation Dev Patel’s face in this scene.

Even when Lion gets uneven in its cinematic portrayal of Saroo’s search through Google, it works as a whole because of one moment – it sticks the landing. The end of Lion finds Saroo reunited with his birth mother and his long lost sister, and it’s a rousing moment that brings the emotional journey of Luke Davies’s screenplay to a fitting conclusion. I don’t think Lion is a great movie but it has great moments, and the heartwarming ending is one of those great moments and the reason that people feel good when the credits begin to roll.

The special features on the Blu-ray consist of what the disc refers to as “galleries,” which are basically just featurettes that explore the making of the film and the real life story behind it. It’s fascinating to see the real life Saroo reflect on this remarkable journey and how the story is being brought to the screen. The rest of the featurettes are rather rote, with the cast and crew heaping praise on one another and discussing the emotional nature of the film.

Lion is a movie which is gorgeously shot by cinematographer Greig Fraser and has found an audience because of its uplifting and inspirational nature. Sure, I would’ve liked the movie a lot more if it remained focused on the struggle for Saroo to find his cultural identity as opposed to his extensive searching of Google Earth, but it’s easy to overlook those flaws when you have powerful performances at every turn and an ending that works so well you’ll be reaching for the tissues.

Lion
  • Overall Score
3

Summary

An incredible true story, Lion has a great start, so-so middle, and fantastic ending that will have you reaching for the tissues in this story of family and cultural identity.

Anytime Costumes

Leave a Reply

FanboyNation
Animation/Anime Interviews Animation/Anime News Animation/Anime Reviews Film/TV Interviews Film/TV News Film/TV Review
Paul Crowder and ‘Boss’ Wooldridge Talk ‘The Blue Angels’ Doc – Interview

Director, Paul Crowder and Flying Ace, Greg “Boss” Woolridge talk about...

Eric Bana Talks ‘Force of Nature: The Dry 2’ – Interview

Eric Bana Returns for the sequel to ‘The Dry‘ in ‘Force...

Letitia Wright’s Talks about her Latest Film ‘Aisha’ – Interview

Letitia Wright’s latest film, ‘Aisha‘, a story about immigration, resilience, friendship...

Event News Event Reviews
Disney’s ‘Aladdin’ Takes You to A Whole New World at Segerstrom – Review

Disney’s Aladdin takes the audience on a thrilling chase and a wonderous place...

Dark Harbor Returns to Long Beach on The Queen Mary this Halloween

The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor Returns to Long Beach for the...

It’s Showtime! ‘Beetlejuice’ is a Hit at Segerstrom Center of the Arts – Review

It’s Showtime! ‘Beetlejuice‘ is a Hit at Segerstrom Center of the...

Automotives Football MMA, Kick Boxing & Boxing Professional Wrestling
Oscar De La Hoya Partners with El Rey for ‘Friday Night Fights’ – Interview

The Golden Boy himself chatted with us about Golden Boy Promotions...

Olympic Runner Colleen Quigley ‘On The Road to Paris’

Team USA Olympic Runner, Colleen Quigley is On The Road to...

Paralympian Swimmer Ahalya Lettenberger On The Road to Paris

Team USA Paralympian Swimmer, Ahalya Lettenberger is On The Road to...

Adult Continuity Comics on the Can Cultural Junk Drawer Future Comic Rock Stars Is That Racist? Revisiting the Reviled THAT'S NOT ROTTEN! The B-Reel The Cantina Scene This Week in Crowdfunding What the HELL Did I just...?
Fantoy Comics Presents: Harry Potter and the Pahrump Apocalypse – We’re DEMONS!

I'm sure it's just allergies. Cacti is notorious for pollen...

Fantoy Comics Presents: Harry Potter and the Pahrump Apocalypse part something: Hermione and the Mini-gun pt 2

Have a lead salad instead!

Fantoy Comics Presents – Harry Potter and the Pahrump Apocalypse part ?: Hermione and the mini-gun pt 1

It can't fire more than 6,000 per minute!

Music Interviews Music News Music Reviews
Joe Kwaczala Talks About His new Comedy Album ‘Funny Songs & Sketches’ – Interview

Joe Kwaczala Talks About His new Comedy Album ‘Funny Songs &...

Songwriter and Poet, Tamara Mechael Talks About Her Career in the Arts

First Generation Assyrian-Chaldean, Songwriter and Poet, Tamara Mechael Talks About Her...

Louden Swain Headlining Los Angeles Show at The Echo

Press Release – Louden Swain are headlining Los Angeles show at...

Enabled Gaming Gaming News Gaming Reviews
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League Gameplay Trailer

The first Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League gameplay trailer was revealed during...

Wonder Woman Game
Wonder Woman Game Announced By DC and WB Games

Wonder Woman game will feature the iconic hero in a 3rd...

MultiVersus
MultiVersus brings Batman, Arya Stark, Bugs Bunny, and More

MultiVersus is bringing Shaggy, Harley Quinn, Jake, Batman, Arya Stark, Bugs Bunny,...

Comic Creator Interviews Comic/Graphic Novel News Comic/Graphic Novel Reviews Manga News Manga Reviews Novel/Novella Author Interviews Novel/Novella News Novel/Novella Reviews
Gary Morgenstein Talks ‘A Dugout to Peace’ the Final Installment of his Trilogy

Gary Morgenstein Talks About ‘A Dugout to Peace‘ the final installment...

Chris Clews Is ‘Raised on the 80s’ and Shares Those Life Lessons

Chris Clews was ‘Raised on the 80s‘ and Shares Those Life...

Roye Okupe Brings Authentic African Representation to HBO Max and Cartoon Network

Nigerian-American, Roye Okupe brings authentic African representation to HBO Max and...

Apparel/Personal Maintenance News Apparel/Personal Maintenance Reviews Entertainment Product News Entertainment Product Reviews Food/Beverage Reviews Hardware News Hardware Reviews Mystery Box News Mystery Box Reviews
Harry Potter: Magic Caster Wand Demo

The new ‘Harry Potter: Magic Caster Wand‘ is ready to ship...

Chef Jen Peters and Matthew Clayton Bring us the ‘Good Flour’

Canadian Super Chef Jen Peters and Matthew Clayton Bring us the...

Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide
Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide

The Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide is now available to help...

Gaming Uncensored Toon-In-Talk
Episode 38: Hamid Rahmanian

Join Whitney Grace as she speaks with artist Hamid Rahmanian, who...

No Preview
Toon-In Talk Episode 37: Niki Smith

Whitney Grace interviews graphic novel writer and artist Niki Smith about...

Toon-In Talk Episode 36: Rob Paulsen

Rob Paulsen takes some time from his busy voice acting schedule...