It’s rare I walk out of a cinema feeling like the past two hours of my life were well-spent.
I’m usually overflowing with regret. And an $8 choc-top.
Walking out of Lion, however, that feeling of regret was notably absent.
In its place? Hope. Curiosity. And heartbreak.
Lion tells the true story of Saroo Brierley, who was accidentally separated from his family as a toddler in the tiny Indian town of Ganesh Talai, and was then adopted by a couple in Tasmania.
He didn’t know the name of his home town; didn’t know where it was; and didn’t know how to get back.
He even pronounced his own name wrong. Against all the odds, however – in 2012 – Saroo tracked his birth family down. 26 years after being lost… he was found.
The drama is no simple story of 'lost and found', however. It runs profoundly deeper.
Everything about Saroo's story is unspeakably poignant: the love he has for his birth mother, who he helps lift rocks in order to feed their poor family; the guilt he feels for his brother, who was in charge of taking care of him the night he was lost; and the overwhelming sense of deracination clouding his every thought as a brown-skinned, Aussie-speaking, twenty-something with no sense of where he's really from.
The cinematography is mind-boggling. Profoundly vast, birds-eye-view shots of India are interspersed with Google Maps footage as Saroo digitally scours every inch of the Indian landscape.