Thanks largely to an affecting performance from newcomer Sunny Pawar, the first act is horribly effective.
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Where Saroo goes and what he finds there left me in tears, but you feel that a complicated true story has been airbrushed into a postmodern legend.
There’s plenty of warmth and compassion here, and the true story is a belter, but this ‘Lion’ doesn’t quite roar.
A sober and yet profoundly stirring contemplation of family, roots, identity and home, which engrosses throughout the course of its two-hour running time.
Lion, the first feature directed by Garth Davis, sufficiently realizes the emotional arc built into Brieley’s experience.
If Saroo’s story seems out-of-this world, the team behind this film have risen to meet the challenge it sets. There may be a sense of inevitability about Saroo’s ultimate destination, but what counts here is the journey.
If the first half is an indelible treat and gives one high hopes that a film delicately placed in the awards season will in fact meet its steep expectations, the second half is troublesome and falls flat.
While Lion isn’t the kind of drama that demands risky storytelling, it is one that has within it a whole world of emotional topography that is disappointingly scrolled over instead of mapped out.
Fortunately for Davis, he’s got a terrific cast, chief among them the pair of charismatic actors who split the lead role.
The script never lunges for cheap drama by forcing Saroo into a binary choice between mothers, and the most complex beats are about tip-toeing around, often counter-productively, to avoid hurt or betrayal.