Lion: Google Earth to the Win

A five year old Saroo was waiting for his brother at a train station, and when he woke up from a nap to an empty train, he boarded it.

The train took him to Calcutta, on a journey that lasted a couple of days.

Saroo arrived in Calcutta and tried to find his family, not knowing that he was already too far away from Khandwa by then. He could not speak Bengali, and was lost until a kind man took him to the police. Afterwards, he ended up in an orphanage, where he had been taught English and prepared to live with an Australian couple who wanted to adopt him.

So after some time, Saroo moved to Tasmania and lived with John and Sue, who loved him the moment they met him. A year later, the family adopted another child, Mantosh, who presented them with more challenges than they could afford.

Over two decades later, Saroo happened to stumble upon something that reminded him of his childhood. After his friends told him to use Google Earth to try to locate his family, Saroo became obsessed with finding them and tried relentlessly to locate his home.

It created distance between him and his girlfriend, Lucy, and his mom confronted him about his changes as well.

After finding out his home “Ganesh Talai”, Saroo told Sue and flew to India to meet his family.

Once he got there, Saroo found his mom and his sister, and my eyes watered a bit. Excuse me.

He called his parents and told them that he’d found his family.

He learned later on that he’d been pronouncing his name incorrectly. His name was Sheru, which means Lion.

Oh it’s so beautiful.

Seriously, the kid who played Saroo is the most adorable little man ever. He’s so cute. I just could not take my eyes off of him. How could anyone not adopt him when he was out on the streets?

This is the kind of movie you watch when you need to see something meaningful. Something that will make you feel like there’re miracles out there, that things happen for reasons, and that Google Earth is one powerful tool.

It’s excellent performance by everyone in this movie. If I wasn’t a big fan of Dev Patel, I might just as well beat the old me up right now. He’s one fine young man. Nicole Kidman portrayed Sue beautifully; I was as nervous as her character was when she met little Saroo for the first time. I was as scared. As amazed. As happy. I could almost feel her struggles.

That says a lot about her work in this project.

The little kid, however, won me over. He is the real star in this movie.

A big chunk of the film was little Saroo’s journey to meeting his parents in Tasmania, so we got used to his face and adorable smile. As the story takes us to a now grown man Saroo, we get to see more of his life, his relationships with his parents and Mantosh, as well as Lucy, and how he’s reacting to remembering his past and trying to find his home. And we can see how his identity is tied up closely to his acknowledgement that he’s adopted.

The story is that of Saroo’s way back home, and not just home, but also his identity. It’s the road he had to take in order to feel at peace. And I couldn’t help but cheer for him.

There are tons of gorgeous shots as well in this movie. Since it plays with Google Earth, it covers a lot of shots of different places from different angles.

The pace was alright. It never felt like it was dragging on, nor did it ever feel like it was rushing to get to a point. It was a simple story told in appropriate order and time, and a job well done.

This movie is a 8.5/10.

You should see it if you haven’t.



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