“If you wrote this as fiction,” my husband said, “People wouldn’t believe it.”
After the beginning credits of Lion, there’s a caption telling the viewer the movie is based on a true story. That knowledge colors everything you see thereafter.
Five year old Saroo gets on a decommissioned train and falls asleep, ending up thousands of kilometers away from his family in the huge city of Kolkata, where he doesn’t even speak the language. He manages to survive on his own among Kolkata’s many street children until he’s placed in an orphanage and eventually adopted by a loving Australian couple.
Years later he becomes obsessed with finding the mother and brother he remembers from so long ago. Using modern technology (Google Earth) and scattered memories, he tries to find his birth family.
Lion is a feast for the eyes, beautifully photographed, showing us a glimpse into the lives led by Kolkata’s thousands of street children. I held my breath for Saroo several times as he narrowly escaped some of the terrifying dangers lying in wait for these children.
Lion shows us the love of both of Saroo’s mothers — the birth mother and the adoptive one. With strong performances that are full of heart, this movie makes us feel the incalculable depth of love in a true family.
The movie is based on “The Long Journey Home” by Saroo Brierley. It’s a fantastic movie, definitely award-worthy.
Here’s more about Lion on IMDb.