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Lion Movie Review (2016) | A Biopic that Promises to Rip your Heart Out

If you haven’t watched Lion Movie up till now, I beseech you to watch it right away. The Oscar Nominated movie (in six categories) is a flick so profound, touching and melancholic, that it is definitely going to leave you wiping your tears. It is a true story based on the book “A Long Way Home” by Saroo Brierley, which packs in a gut-wrenching tale of a lost boy who tries to find his origins.

Direction of Lion Movie

Lion Movie is directed by Garth Davis. His direction is simply mesmerizing. He doesn’t leave out the details, doesn’t rush things, doesn’t leapfrog to show you just the crucial moments, rather focuses on stepping stones that are paramount in properly packing up an entire story.

With Greig Fraser by his side, he picks up long rails to depict Saroo’s running, follows the protagonist up from beautiful angles. Greig and Garth have a keen eye for capturing beautiful shots. It is evident when they choose to sit behind characters, capture vista from distant locations and walk alongside his people. I loved how the former sometimes chose to clear the lens on a face.

Also, nothing seems insincere. The cast is lost just like the child is. Garth brings out some dogged acting from even a young child like Sunny Pawar. Nobody is aware of the camera and that’s what makes things more uncontrived.

Plot of Lion Movie (Spoilers Ahead)

The plot of the Lion Movie is nothing but leaflets from the real Saroo’s book. The movie starts off with little Saroo helping his brother Guddu steal coal from a chugging train, which they use to trade milk to get by. They have an amazing relationship. Guddu is always taking care of Saroo, given how young Saroo is, appreciating him for every tiny effort of his. Both enjoy each other’s company a lot.

still of Saroo played by Sunny Pawar in Lion movie

Saroo wishes to accompany Guddu who goes to a job at a place nearby. His resolve to prove that he is no longer a mere child when he picks up a chair and then a bicycle goes on to show how eager he is to spend more time with his brother. Sunny Pawar simply nails that part.

The Lost Boy

They head to a nearby station platform where Saroo ends up dozing off. Guddu promises to return asking him not to go anywhere. Waking him, not finding Guddu around he boards a train wondering if his brother’s there. Tired, he once again sleeps, wakes up only to find the train moving. Doors are locked, and he is stranded in a moving train. The train goes on, ends up reaching Calcutta. Being too young and naive he doesn’t know or understand how he could get back to his hometown. He remembers her mother’s name to be “Ammi”, remembers the place he lived in as “Gneshtali” and doesn’t know the way of the world.

Saroo, the lost boy, wanders the city, finds its ugly jaws trying to get a piece of him. He is hungry, unfed, and he keeps narrowly escaping trouble. Until one day a man finds him and takes him to the police. With no place to map him to, they find him an orphanage. Around three months later, with the help of an advertisement about the child, an Australian couple, Sue Brierley played by Nicole Kidman and John Brierley played by David Wenham, decide to adopt him. Saroo’s upbringing happens in Hobart, Tasmania along with another adopted brother Mantosh who has rage issues.

You can buy the movie Lion here:

The Time Leap

The movie then traces the worried mind of an adult Saroo Brierley who is trying to find his forgotten origins. He is constantly peeved by the fact how his real mother and brother must be still searching for him, while he breaks bread unperturbed. He finds love in Lucy played by Rooney Mara but ends up being distant owing to the constant buzz in his head. Same he does with his parents. Afraid to tell them about his desire to see his real mother, he locks himself up in his house, and subjects himself to thorough brainstorming.

still of Rooney Mara and Dev Patel in Lion Movie

The movie captures the minutiae of his thoughts, how he wishes to locate his mother and brother. He imagines them still looking for him, on the station, at the river. He begins seeing their profiles in broad daylight, losing it every day.

One day he goes back to Sue, his mother to tell her how sorry he was, and how hard it must have been for her to own kids with a past. She replies that it was their choice to adopt reasoning:

The world has enough people in it. Have a child, couldn’t guarantee it will make anything better. But to take a child that’s suffering like you boys were. Give you a chance in the world. That’s something.

One day with the help of Google Earth he locates the exact location of his house thus pinpointing his origin. He then sets out to meet his mother and brother. On reaching there he finds his mother. The atmosphere erupts in delirium. He gathers that Guddu, his brother, was dead. He had died the same night he had gone missing, hit by a train. Saroo finds his sister Shekila too, and with that family reunion the movie concludes.

Minor Issues

Whilst Garth gave his level best in terms of direction, casting of Saroo’s real mother seemed a tad out of place. Kamla was terribly done. She seemed distant with her acting. Whilst there were plenty of good Indian actresses out there who would have nailed Saroo’s mother avatar, Garth Davis decided to choose Priyanka Bose for the role. I wonder why.

Guddu’s angle was, I felt, necessary too. If it wasn’t for Guddu’s accident, he would have come nevertheless for his brother. That sheer fact could have been milked to ooze out more feels. But even without that, the Lion movie has enough reasons to send you on a sobbing spree.

The Final Verdict

The Lion Movie is one of the saddest stories you will ever hear, and the fact that it’s all true makes you mewl even more. I kept weeping the whole movie. It is hard not to empathize with the boy, the plight of the adult Saroo, as he begins to experience that gush of emotion that overwhelms with pain and missing.

To do something so selfless and noble as to adopt a child from a different land, giving him a life and providing for him, is simply commendable. You can’t stop applauding the Brierleys enough. It puts hope back into the world where it should belong. At the same time, it inspires us to do something of the kind. You never know a Saroo could still be out there, waiting for his directions to come.

You listen to its amazing score, and your heart ends up being a slave to the angst. Dustin O’ Halloran and Volker Bertelmann (Hauschka) simply aggrandize the movie with their music. They are placed at right junctures to fill you up with emotional trauma.

A flick that everyone should watch. A real life tale that should not be missed for the world.

You can check out the trailer of Lion Movie here:

 

Carol Review (2015)

An alluring take on same-sex love!

Carol isn’t just a self-exploration sojourn of Therese Belivet; it is so much more. With an enchanting screenplay to keep us company, Carol walks with a constant finesse depicting human emotions in a beautiful way. You can’t help but feel for the characters as they carry the right gusto in their acts.

Rooney Mara is simply outstanding. She carries a face of innocence that reads confusion quite often, whilst trying to learn the ways of her character. Coming to her aid is the voluptuous Carol Aird played by Cate Blanchett, whose life is torn apart owing to an ongoing divorce scene that hurls her into fits of melancholia.

SPOILERS:

The way Todd Haynes traverses the camera from a gutter to a third person perspective by capturing the rattling and chugging of a train in the backdrop, to reach the protagonists having a conversation on a table speaks volume of his sheer genius. Right there the prologue gets painted, and memories gush in from the past through the mist of the car window, as Therese Belivet (Rooney Mara) gawks at the city, being indifferent to the talks of the mundane.

It is a beautiful way of depicting movie frames which Haynes seems to have mastered. He nails them like a pro. Complements Todd brilliantly in the background with an enthralling profound score is Carter Burwell, whose music is placed at right scenes, to make you feel the flick’s endearing rhythm.

“My angel, flung out of space.”

Love has so many forms. It goes beyond age and sex, and Patricia Highsmith’s story couldn’t cover it better. With a genius like Todd to help us crawl alongside the frames, the movie forever stays in empathetic waters. With spectacular performances by Cate and Rooney, the movie reaches a pinnacle of emotions. Little things, like when Therese notices minute details in Carol whilst she drives, and when she shows up eventually with a quivering heart hoping that she would see her are all brilliantly shot.

The movie’s drama at times misses on milking Carol’s love for Therese. Her life’s atrocities fail to cash in on the love she feels for Therese, and that’s where the flick appears to have dwindled. But still Haynes manages to keep the juices flowing and what we have in the end is a magnificent project in melodrama.

Highly recommended!