Belfast Telegraph

Lion review: Piecing together a long-lost past

 

By Damon Smith

Saroo (Sunny Pawar) lives in 1987 Khandwa with his mother Kamla (Priyanka Bose) and siblings.

The five-year-old idolises his 12-year-old brother Guddu (Abhishek Bharate) and the two boys embark on a night-time excursion to the local railway station. A horrible twist of fate separates the children and Saroo is trapped aboard a train, which heads 1,600km east to the bustling shanty towns of Calcutta.

Unable to speak the language, the boy eventually meets Saroj Sood (Deepti Naval), who runs the Indian Society for Adoption and places him with adoptive parents John and Sue Brierley (David Wenham and Nicole Kidman) in Hobart, Tasmania.

Many years later, Saroo (now played by Dev Patel) is encouraged by fellow student Lucy (Rooney Mara) to use satellite mapping software to trace the railway line from Calcutta back to locate his biological family. Skilfully adapted by screenwriter Luke Davies from Saroo Brierley's non-fiction book A Long Way Home, Lion is a heartfelt drama that delivers an emotional wallop as the lead character pieces together his past.

Four stars

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