Festival Sinema Australia Indonesia 2017
Dev Patel as Saroo Brierly on “Lion”
REVIEW : “Lion”, A Heartfelt Family Drama to Discover One’s True Identity

Ever felt a raging conflict inside your heart? We’re pretty sure that everyone at one point has experienced this, but Saroo Brierly must had one hell of a conflict as an adopted son of an Australian family. Several blurred images he remembered from his past had pushed him to look for his family in India, while he also did not want to burden her stepmother in Australia who was sick at that time. The true story as written by Saroo Brierly himself on a novel called “A Long Way Home” was then adapted into a motion picture called “Lion”. The novel itself has become a popular read and quickly flying off the shelves once it was published and the amazing and moving story of Saroo Brierly’s family was picked up by The Weinstein Company to be produced.

The plot dated back when Saroo (played by Dev Patel) was first resided in India with his family consisting of a mother, an elder brother and a younger sister. Coming from a poor family living in a slum, at the age of 5, he and his elder brother feel obliged to help out his mother who worked as laborer. The two of them set up in a journey to sell things, then Saroo slept on the train and got separated from his brother. The train took him far away from his home and he ended up in the Department of Social Services of India. He was then enrolled in a adoption program by Australian families and he was raised there until reaching adulthood. Saroo had to risk everything while looking for his true family back in India. They could have moved or gone altogether leaving him with no destination or hope in his own homeland. The movie then depicted Saroo’s struggles, disappointment, and happiness as he reconnected both of his families.

Lion Review
Nicole Kidman and Sunny Panwar in one of the scene from “Lion”
Source: USA Today

The actors in this movie did amazing jobs in portraying the characters, especially the child actor Sunny Panwar who acted as little Saroo. Dev Patel showed his growth as an actor in this movie, after he stole the spotlight of Hollywood with his role in “Slumdog Millionaire”. Nicole Kidman as the Australian stepmother of Saroo channeled her motherhood to portray a mother who did not want to lose his son even though he is not her flesh and blood. The scriptwriter successfully putting out a smooth transition in the dialogues and producing a moving story that did not derive out too far from the novel, which is a good sign for an adapted story. The cinematography captured the beauty and also the poverty in India giving the contrasting image between the life in a developing country and a developed country like Australia. It is a heartfelt family drama that shows what is the real meaning of a family.

Moreover, the movie does not only focus on human’s poor life condition in India, but also zoom in the impact of a region and environment to one’s life choice. It shows how complex social and economic factor could affect human’s life. With all things considered, it is no wonder that “Lion” are able to snatch six nominations on Academy Awards 2017 including Best Writing Adapted Screenplay and Best Picture nominations. This film, along with “Hackshaw Ridge” are the representatives from Australia movie scene in the Academy Awards. We were lucky to be able to watch this during Festival Sinema Australia Indonesia 2017 that was held by Australian Embassy in Jakarta and met Saroo Brierly himself who was honored to open the festival. If this movie hits theaters near you, it is the one to watch with your friends and family. Its moving story and family-oriented drama will move you to tears, so you’d better prepare tissue while watching!

Reporter: Intan Maharani/Editor: Novita Widia