Movie Review: LION
Last week my friend and I went to see the movie, LION. It’s based on a true story of one of the 80, 000 Indian children who go missing each year.
This little boy, Saroo, was ‘lucky’: after living for months as a street kid in Calcutta, he was adopted by a loving couple in Tasmania and grew up in a privileged environment.
However, the sight of a popular Indian sweetmeat at a get-together of Indian Australians in Melbourne ignited memories of his early life as a much loved child despite his family’s hand-to-mouth existence.
The memories kept coming like flashbacks and with them, an overwhelming sense of guilt for what he saw as his part in getting lost. He became obsessed with locating his birthplace and saying sorry to his birth mother and the brother with whom he had been travelling at the time of getting lost.
But being so young when this happened, he had no idea where he had come from. Eventually, using Google maps and Indian railway timetables, he constructs a radius to investigate using his lap top, struggling to find the name of a place that no one recognised.
And perseverance pays off: he is successful, he flies to India, and has an emotional reunion with his birth mother and family members.
This movie works on several levels and I recommend you see it if you like movies based on true stories.
Its powerful themes include the plight of lost children in underdeveloped parts of the world, the power of love - both the love of Saroo’s birth mother and the love of his adoptive parents - to influence a child’s life, and the use of every day Google technology providing new opportunities to tackle previously unresolvable problems.
For the metaphysically and spiritually minded, Saroo’s Tasmanian adoptive mother, tells her son about a powerful vision that she herself had as a child of twelve or thirteen. This vision gave meaning to what had seemed to her up to that point a meaningless existence and informed her life from then on. To me, this small scene gave the movie a larger framework from which to view the story. You may or may not agree. It doesn’t matter.
The movie is well acted and reflected to me my own experience of India, Indian train travel and Calcutta back in the day!