Action / Biography / Drama

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 84% · 270 reviews
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 91% · 25K ratings
IMDb Rating 8.0/10 10 252249 252.2K


Top cast

Nicole Kidman as Sue Brierley
Rooney Mara as Lucy
Dev Patel as Saroo Brierley
David Wenham as John Brierley
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
876.52 MB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 58 min
Seeds 24
1.81 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 58 min
Seeds 56

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by ElMaruecan82 8 / 10

Waiting for Guddu...

Whenever I wander in the streets of the Moroccan Medina, I feel at home. There's that strange mixture of various fragrances floating in the air: spices, kebab, frying delicacies (not much different from these appetizing jelabis), sea spray from the fish market, tanned leather from the shoe shop and this whole conglomerate smell outsiders or tourists might feel stinky, but as far as "my" senses are concerned, "there's no place like home". I didn't pick it, it picked me.

And maybe there's something innately circular about life, we're born home, we move close or far from it, and there's the need to get back. I even have a personal theory: that even your children can find a deep "connection" with the place you were born in, your home will also feel like home for them. And it is indeed "A Long Way Home", the poignant and inspiring story of Saroo Brierley, born in India, lost at the age of five, adopted by an Australian couple and reuniting with his mother and his family twenty-five years later. What else can be said? It's a simple story but it's often in the most plain-looking grounds that you can find the most precious gems.

Garth Davis' "Lion" is indeed simple in its storytelling; it's linear and straightforward in its clarity. Basically the whole first hour shows poor Saroo looking for his brother Guddu in hostile and overcrowded streets of Calcutta and finding a few moments of relief interrupted by adults, and in the huge lottery of karma, some can look extremely friendly and have sinister motives. But good fate sides with little Saroo and one lucky encounter leading to another, a couple of Australian tourist discovers the 'wanted notice' published in a newspaper and they instantly fall in love with the kid and adopt him. Saroo is then taught English and good manners.

Then, something interesting happens: while I expected some resistance, he actually tries to fit in his new family as if he's aware that there's something really providential in that couple of good-hearted people from Tasmania, played by Nicole Kidman and David Brienham. The one twist that spoils the family harmony is the adoption of a mentally troubled and self-harming Indian boy named Mantosh one year later. "Lion" manages to say a lot without words, from the reaction of Sunny Pawar, who does a fine, subtle, acting job, I could feel that he didn't welcome this arrival with much enthusiasm but wouldn't display jealousy out of love for his new mom.

And the way he grew up was in line with the character. Dev Patel finally makes his entrance as a brilliant young man in his mid-twenties, ready to embrace studies in hotel management, he's also a nice guy like you seldom see in movies, no tortured soul, no rebel, no wimp either and respectful toward his parents. Seeing Patel again made me regret how harshly I judged "Slumdog Millionnaire" but I never commented his acting but a script that took a rather simplistic turn near the end. So, I was glad to see Patel again, playing another guy trying to find a loved one through a "modern device" but I hoped Davis wouldn't derail the film from its beautiful simplicity.

And I had a good scare when his soon-to-be girlfriend, played by Rooney Mara, started improvising a little dance on the streets as it almost felt like there would be some Bollywood number, but it was just her twisted way to seduce him, and it worked… well, to some degree. Personally, she struck me as a too cold and sophisticated girl, I didn't buy that a guy so warm and "sunny" like Saroo would fall in love with a younger version of Kristin Scott Thomas. Even the love scenes made me wonder if Mara wasn't still under the influence of her previous romance in "Carol". Never mind, the center of the movie were Patel and Kidman and as soon as Patel has this delicate 'Proust Madeleine' moment, the story takes off and with the miracle of "Google Earth", Saroo tries to find the way back home.

The film tries to inject some 'suspense' in that powerful journey but that wasn't necessary, I think they could have just compressed the 'research' within the last weeks before Saroo's departure and avoided these little 'pending' moments, only to focus on the relationship with his adoptive mother and some emotional insights about the heights of generosity some hearts can reach. There were many heartfelt statements about adoption that could have enriched the story but the girlfriend allowed Saroo to explain his existential crisis to the audience without never really existing on her own, I didn't care for her anyway. The tormented brother could have made a more interesting foil for Saroo and would have provided a fine back-story paralleling Saroo's experience.

While "Lion" isn't flawless, it's a movie whose emotional power relied on the ending, and when Saroo was getting closer to his home, I could find my own heart beating, that's for the empathy… and that was the price to pay, to earn that teary explosion of happiness and a few emotionally rewarding revelations, concluding one of the few 2016 movies of universal appeal. Indeed, If there ever was one statement to sum up the general appeal of movies, or stories regardless of their narrative medium, I would quote the late Roger Ebert who said "The more specific a film is, the more universal, because the more it understands individual characters, the more it applies to everyone".

Truer words have never been spoken indeed. Garth Davis' "Lion" might have an Australian-Indian protagonist but anyone can relate to him, from India, Iceland, Jamaica, Morocco or any part of the world.

Reviewed by TheLittleSongbird 8 / 10

Roars like a near mighty lion

'Lion' showed a lot of promise. There was potential for a very powerful story, had heard a lot of good things about it (as seen from many positive reviews and a high rating here) and there is a lot of talent involved. A lot of my friends had said how much it touched them, as have many reviewers here, and it seemed like my kind of film.

Fortunately, 'Lion' was a film that had great potential and mostly lived up to it. Cannot say that for many recent viewings, with a few too many wastes of good concepts and potential (along with wastes of talent, that is a bugbear of mine because it feels like somewhat of a slap of the face) so that there was a film that did not waste it was refreshing and restored a bit of faith. It is a very good film, albeit it was very nearly a great film. That it wasn't the great film all the way through than when it started is something of a shame, but there are so many great qualities all the same.

It is an uneven film sure, starting with the negatives. The second half is not as strong as the first half, it is not as compellingly paced and the clarity of storytelling is less good, some of it feeling vague. That is not to say it is unwatchable, it is still touching in spots in a film that is quite the emotional experience.

Rooney Mara also came over to me as the cast's weak link. She didn't look very interested and her character felt like a misplaced and underwritten plot device.

However, 'Lion's' first half is wonderful. Hugely compelling and very emotional, and what is meant by why the film very nearly was great. The whole film though was poignant, and count me in as another film who has become tougher generally over the year but got through several tissues by the film's end.

Throughout, 'Lion' is beautifully filmed and complements the beautiful sceneries very well. Scoring and sound never come over as obvious or intrusive. The script provokes thought, charms and moves. The story is never dull and the emotional impact never feels forced or manipulative.

Garth Davis does a very good job directing. Aside from Mara, the cast are very good. Dev Patel's performance here is perhaps the best seen from him personally and David Wenham and Nicole Kidman are similarly excellent. The star here though is Sunny Pawar who is just outstanding, have not seen a child performance this good in a long time, it is perhaps among the best ever.

In conclusion, very good and very nearly great. 8/10 Bethany Cox

Reviewed by Hitchcoc 8 / 10

A Gripping Story That Could Have Been Better

To start with, I really enjoyed the film. It impressed me, even though I already knew the whole story. That takes some doing. The story of the young boy, the first half of the film, gives us a view of the sadness that takes place because of over-population. People live on a subsistence, but somehow many manage. Of course, many do not. Saroo goes with his brother to steal coal off the trains. It is utterly dangerous with possible death around each corner. They manage to trade their coal for a couple small bags of milk which they take home. The older brother can work and Saroo is a pest. He manages to talk his brother into taking him to a new job site by train, but he gets separated and the rest is history. We see the little guy trying to figure a way to get back to his village but he can't name it or his mother's name (he calls her Mum). He manages to get away from some nasty people, probably avoiding being sold into prostitution. Through a series of events, he winds up with an Australian family which adopts him and another boy who is severely, emotionally disturbed. If someone had done a little script work to bridge a twenty-five year gap, it would have helped tremendously. We now have Saroo as a man. He has been accepted into white (and brown) society. He has an attractive girlfriend played by Rooney Mara. But he is conflicted. He hates his brother because he shows disrespect for their adoptive parents. He has also begun to long for his original home. Bits and pieces of his life before the age of five have crept into his mind. Had there been even a few minutes for us to get to know when this longing started. Also, some of the specifics of life with the second brother. A psychological framework for his feelings. There is so much angst in the older Saroo. It could have been sold better. It would have made very good film a great one and could have been done without making it too long. The little boy who played little Saroo has such an expressive face. Beautiful.

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