Lion movie poster
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Lion
Lion movie poster

Lion Movie Review

Cold. Emotionless. Sociopath. Psycho killer. I’ve been called all these things, especially when it comes to watching movies. Crying at a movie? Pathetic. Tears? Visual signs of uncontrollable irrationality. Emotion? Unnecessary and illogical. And yet I felt something at Lion, a quivering sensation of feels, a tightness in my face to resist the swell of those dastardly drops of liquid.

Yes, I came close to crying. And yes, that’s because Lion is exceptional and easily one of the best movies of the year.

Lion is a powerful drama about a young Indian boy (Sunny Pawar) who gets separated from his family (by separated, I mean he falls asleep on a train and wakes up 1,600 kilometers away in Calcutta) and is forced to survive on his own until he is adopted by a couple (Nicole Kidman and David Wenham) and taken to Australia. It’s only decades later, as a grown man (Dev Patel), that his traumas of the past begin to haunt him.

Lion plays like a more serious and grounded Slumdog Millionaire, another movie you may have heard of that has Patel playing an older version of the main character, who grows up poor and has to suffer through a series of unsettling events. Lion isn’t as flashy or fun as Danny Boyle’s Oscar winner, but it is just as good, if not better, with Garth Davis, in his mainstream theatrical debut, delivering an astonishingly visceral film from start to finish.

I wouldn’t change a thing.

Visually, the movie is breathtaking.

The score is amazing.

The writing is stellar.

The acting award-worthy.

You get the point.

Sunny Pawar is incredible given his young age, his squeaky voice and cherubic appearance masking, or enhancing, real talent. And Patel delivers the best performance of his career, an Oscar-caliber turn if I’ve ever seen one. Nicole Kidman is fantastic as well.

Lion is a mesmerizing and powerful piece of filmmaking, one of the year’s best. It may be the most emotional movie you’ve seen all year, and it’s most definitely a must-see.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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