Film’s Fierce Heart Is Like A Lion
We all want to find our way home. No matter where we’ve come from, or where we land, the identity journey home is always the one that holds our hearts forever hostage. Can we ever breathe freedom?
“Lion,” the newly released film based on the non-fiction book, A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley, delicately unfolds the journey of this hunger ensconced by hope. I brought Evan, my 12-year old son with me to see it. “Lion,” as a story/film, was incredibly thoughtful, beautifully beautifully filmed, artfully directed and edited, and through very specific moments and imagery, truly captured the spirit of feeling lost. For a host of many complicated, unjust and unfathomable reasons, over 80,000 children go missing in India each year. “Lion” illuminates this story.
I appreciate the patience in which the film crystallizes with Saroo as an intuitive lost, inquisitive loving little boy (played by an adorable Sunny Pawer), and as he becomes a lost inquisitive and loving young man (played by handsomely grown Dev Patel). The real-life circumstances that caused his separation from his older brother, his birth mother, and how he survives, are incredibly sad yet undeniably hopeful.
There is much tenderness in his love for his adoptive mother (played by Nicole Kidman), which as a mother of a young boy myself, is heart-tugging to watch. The name of the movie is from when Saroo later learned that he mispronounced his own name for all his life; it is actually Sheru, which is a diminutive for the Hindi word for “Lion,” which is “Sher.
I’ve never had a desire to go to India. The crowded, dirty, chaotic, poverty-stricken realities are not for me. No calling. I get there is much compassion to be held for humanity, and there are those who feel the pull to experience the vulnerability, authenticity and messiness of the threshold. Visually and thematically, this film offers glimpses into how much is constantly lost in India for a culture that has so little to lose.
I shed a tear or two during a couple of scenes. I was glad Evan was with me to share them. The relationships were powerful: Between Saroo and his brother Guddu, Saroo and his birth mom, Saroo and his childhood memories, Saroo and his adoptive parents, Saroo and his struggle to find home…All artfully crafted in moments, words and images that were heartbreaking.
As a movie that has at its heart the fierce unrelenting love between a mother and a son, when the movie was over, Evan and I had a lot to talk about. I highly recommend “Lion” for its story, cinematography, acting and its many messages of love, hope and longing. This is a caliber of film I’ve not seen in a very long time…