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Opening Date
24 Nov 2016
120 mins
English / Bengali / Hindi with English subtitles
Garth Davis
Dev Patel, Rooney Mara, Nicole Kidman
Five-year-old Saroo gets lost on a train which takes him thousands of kilometers across India, away from home and family. Saroo must learn to survive alone in Kolkata before ultimately being adopted by an Australian couple. Twenty-five years later, armed with only a handful of memories, his unwavering determination, and a revolutionary technology known as Google Earth, he sets out to find his lost family and finally return to his first home.
By Thompson Wong  25 Nov 2016
I'd go so far as to say that Lion is probably one of the best feel-good films this year and a much needed cinematic tonic amidst 2016's chaotic mess.
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There is no mystery or big plot reveal for Lion. Everything is laid out in its description, and so audiences must wonder if there is any merit to watching a film you already know the ending to. That answer is an emphatic yes. I'd go so far as to say that Lion is probably one of the best feel-good films this year and a much needed cinematic tonic amidst 2016's chaotic mess.

Lion's story is based on the true tale of 5-year-old Saroo's separation from his family by sheer misfortune. We won't go into the details, but young Saroo (Sunny Pawar) ends up being adopted by an Australian couple in faraway Tasmania after a series of harrowing ordeals. The film obviously jumps in time strategically to pack as much detail into its 129 minutes as possible, so we close with grown-up Saroo's (Dev Patel) search for his birth family as he recalls fragments from his past.

It's not easy to discern that this is director Garth Davis' first feature film. The scenes are shot assuredly, with elegant angles buoyed by delicate, contemplative moments that manage to convey key messages simply: Saroo is in danger; Saroo misses his family; Saroo, once a precocious (but never cocksure) boy, now reduced to a hardened, introverted shell after experiencing Calcutta's dark underbelly. Most of the film's magic is weaved in the first hour, where young Saroo's battles to simply stay alive lend his struggles a viscerally dangerous air. By the time Dev Patel appears onscreen, we know that Saroo is in a much better, privileged space.

As the emotionally satisfying conclusion swells into view, many will agree that it is every bit as powerful as the build-up. The finale does venture tentatively into maudlin territory, but Lion is ultimately anchored by the truth of its story. Viewed from every angle, it remains remarkably heartfelt and meaningful. Families will appreciate this film the most, so do remember to bring enough tissues. 
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