LION Movie Review (2016 Film Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman)

LION Movie Review (2016)

Featuring Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, David Wenham, Rooney Mara and introducing Sunny Pawar

Buy the DVD Watch it Online Read/Listen to the Book

I was so captivated by this movie from the very start and my only regret was not watching it as soon as it was released. When I experience something so powerful and profound, I get this urge to share my thoughts with the world – to show respect and appreciation to the creators and to try to draw others into having a similar positive experience. I hope you enjoy my Lion movie review.


Based on the true story of Saroo Brierley and adapted from his biographical novel, A Long Way Home: A Memoir, It’s about a young boy who gets separated from his family, surviving on the streets of Calcutta by relying on his gut instincts until he’s taken into an orphanage whom arranges for him to be adopted by a lovely Australian couple.

Fast forward twenty years later, his yearning for his family back in India grows. The introduction of Google Earth enables his search for his hometown in the hopes of finding his birth mother, and he spend almost 10,000 hours over 3 years tracing his journey to Calcutta.

He finally recognises some key landmarks and returns to his village, reuniting with his family.

It’s such an incredible, beautiful story. This is what I loved about the movie…

An Australian Film Based On A True Story

Garth Davis makes his feature film directorial debut in Lion and receives six Oscar nominations including Best Picture, one which I think they should have won. The cast is incredible and so is the true story on which the film is based.

I remember hearing all about this Aussie-Indian guy who found his birth mother in a remote village in India through the newly released Google Earth technology. Living in Australia, we saw a good amount of coverage about it.

An Extraordinary Cast

It’s incredible when a story like that comes to life through such masterful visual storytelling, especially with a stellar cast. Young Sunny Pawar, only 6 at the time of filming, does a fantastic job as Saroo, taking us on a journey of being a child lost in a densely populated Calcutta for the first half of the film.

Sunny Pawar as Saroo Brierley in Lion.

Dev Patel absolutely nails the Aussie accent, having spent an hour a day for 8 months with a linguist to perfect it for his part as the adult Saroo, living in Tassie with his adoptive parents. He also visited Saroo Brierley’s orphanage in India and wrote a diary while he took the original train ride that Brierley accidentally took as a young child.

Saroo’s mum Sue Brierley is portrayed by Aussie icon Nicole Kidman, who is spectacular as the loving woman with a huge heart that changed Saroo’s life along with her husband, played by David Wenham.

Exquisite Storytelling That Invoked Strong Emotions

From the very beginning of the film, I could feel my emotions waiting to explode out of my being. The tone was set and carried so well throughout, juxtaposing this sweet, poor boy against the harsh, ruggedness and apathetic nature of the expansive country of India. The cinematography was fantastic.

The lack of dialogue in the first half helped recreate the view from the little boy’s perspective and allowed the spectacular visuals build the feelings of anxiety and helplessness for 5-year old Saroo.

What really burned my heart was the realisation of the reality that these street kids have to endure in many parts of the world. Saroo’s will to live and get back to his family was touching, and you cheer for the boy as he narrowly escapes child abductors and sleazy sorts while navigating through a maze of crowds where he didn’t speak the language.

I was captivated by Pawar’s performance on screen, his love and admiration for his brother and his formidable inner strength that kept him going and blessed him with a loving family and comfortable lifestyle in Australia.

Patel and Kidman were enthralling in their heartfelt depictions of the real Saroo and Sue Brierley. Saroo’s unwavering determination and methodical approach to his search for his birth mother for years was a great build up to the many tear-jerking moments of the movie. Sue’s warm-hearted spirit allowed Kidman to deliver such a profound scene that made me love both the actress and the mother.

“Because we both felt as if… 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.” – Sue Brierley

How You Can Help #LionHeart

Visit the official Lion Movie website to find out how to donate and provide support.

Get Lion the Movie

Buy the DVD Watch it Online Read/Listen to the Book

Music by Sia – Never Give Up

Another Aussie icon who seems to be featured on so many movies lately (Finding Dory, Fifty Shades Darker, Lion, etc), and rightly so. The genius of Sia is everywhere, and it’s about time!

Interviews & News Stories For Lion the Movie

After a movie, I always like to watch interviews and in-depth looks at the actors and behind the scenes. While writing the Lion movie review, I came across many interviews and videos. Here is some of the best:

Sunny Pawar

The delightful Sunny was originally unable to attend the US premiere because he was denied a visa. Producers of the film made an appeal to Homeland Security, after which Sunny and his father were allowed to come to the US. Sunny, now 8 years old, gained massive exposure after attending the Academy Awards. In his interviews he says he hasn’t watched any Hollywood films and therefore doesn’t know who any of the big stars are. His family of 5 live in a small apartment in Mumbai and so we are reminded of foreign Hollywood is to this humble little boy.

He was raised like Simba by Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel


Then raved about in a selfie by the legendary Samuel L. Jackson

This is who Should Have Won Best Actor tonight, Sunny Pawar of Lion! Totally Killed It!!

A post shared by Samuel L Jackson (@samuelljackson) on

He does watch WWE though and names some of the greatest as his heroes. So it was touching to see his idol Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson give him a special moment.

Dev Patel

Although he didn’t win an Oscar, he won a BAFTA. Well-done Dev, I can’t wait to see your future project.

Nicole Kidman and Dev Patel

Saroo and Sue Brierley

Genre: Drama
Director: Garth Davis
Cast: Rooney Mara, Nicole Kidman, Dev Patel, David Wenham, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Aditya Roy Kapoor
Production & Credits: See-Saw Films, Aquarius Films, Screen Australia
Distributors: Weinstein Company, Transmission Films, Entertainment Film Distributors
Country: Australia, UK, USA

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