Directed by Garth Davis
Released November 25, 2016
Most movies rely heavily on their plots to play out and tell a story filled with surprising and unexpected developments and twists. It’s rare that how a movie ends is well-known at the start and is prominent is its marketing, but that just creates a different experience where its effectiveness depends on all that builds towards that finish. This true story is built on the amazing reunion of a son with his mother thirty years after being lost far from his home, and, fortunately, everything that leads to it is just as fantastic.
Five-year-old Saroo (Sunny Pawar) sets out for what seems like an easy night of petty thievery with his brother, but falling asleep aboard a train takes him hundreds of miles from home. After a number of harrowing experiences, Saroo’s resilience leads to his being adopted by a kindly Australian couple (Nicole Kidman and David Wenham). Decades later, after leading a comfortable and fulfilling life, Saroo (Dev Patel) sets out to find the home he’s all but forgotten, determined to locate the mother and brother he still believes have been looking for him every day.
The actual extent of Saroo’s search, which begins more than halfway through the film, is far from its most crucial part. Saroo’s journey from his rural home to the crowded, treacherous streets of Calcutta is simply incredible, conveyed as a young boy with great instincts taking in the vast world around him with little concept of the trip that he has made. Seeing him as a young adult in a completely different environment only makes the connection he feels to a distant homeland all the more poignant.
Patel, who shot to fame with his role in “Slumdog Millionaire,” delivers a mature and affecting performance as the older Saroo, and he’s matched magnificently by the very talented young Pawar. Kidman turns in a heartfelt portrayal of an adoptive mother so attached to her children, and Rooney Mara contributes greatly as Saroo’s girlfriend, who encourages him to search for his family. This film features beautiful cinematography that captures the vastness of its world and, thanks to a strong script and direction, serves as a deeply involving, powerful, and heartwarming story of an astonishing triumph over impossible odds.
Sunday, December 18, 2016