Here's my review of another Oscar nominee for Best Picture: Lion. Garth Davis' film chronicles the incredible, true story of Saroo Brierley - as detailed in Brierley's memoir, A Long Way from Home.
Our journey through the film begins in India in 1986 with five-year-old Saroo (Sunny Pawar) and his brother, Guddu (Abhishek Bharate). While on a trip, Saroo finds himself alone in a train station. He wanders onto a decommissioned train while searching for his brother and becomes trapped on it, ending up 1,500 miles away from home in Calcutta. From there, Saroo tries surviving on his own in a city he's not accustomed to, too young to accurately name his hometown or his mother to the authorities. Saroo is transferred to an orphanage where he's selected for adoption by an Australian couple, the Brierley's (played by David Wenham and Nicole Kidman). The young Saroo grows up in a loving, prosperous home. However, his good fortune is constantly plagued by his past. As a young adult later in the film, Saroo (Dev Patel) sets out on a quest to find his long lost family. Guilt encompasses him, however, to the point that it strains the relationship with his girlfriend and forces him to hide what he's doing from his adoptive parents.
Although much of the Oscar focus is on La La Land, this film undoubtedly deserves its nominations as well. I'm a huge Dev Patel fan and I think this is, quite possibly, his best performance to date. Even rivaling Slumdog Millionaire. It's that good. I really liked how the filmmakers told Saroo's story, packing in a lot of information - yet not overstaurating us - in the film's just under two-hour runtime. There were no "fluff scenes" as I like to call them - or scenes that don't provide much to the plot. Each scene played an integral part in the telling of this story. As I've stated before, my list of all-time favorite films is very small - there's six on the list, to be exact. Now, I can add a seventh. Lion is a powerful, heartfelt story - one that I never knew about - and I'm glad that it was brought to the big screen.
I Give It An: A+
Check Out The Trailer Here