Lion a tear-jerking ride

Five year-old Saroo (Sunny Pawar) and older brother Guddu (Abhishek Bharate) face devastating poverty in rural India in 1986.

At the mercy of whatever work travels their way, they leave their loving mother, who is a laborer in their town, for the nearby rail yard.

There, Guddu goes off to find work, leaving Saroo behind on the train platform.

When Guddu doesn’t return, young Saroo boards a decommissioned train in search of his brother that takes him thousands of miles across India’s railway system to far away Kolkata.

Little does Saroo know that this will be the separating point that distances him from his family for 25 years to come.

Adopting the role of a hero, small, vulnerable Saroo, weakened by loss, takes on an adventure in Kolkata.  

Director Garth Davis captures this stunning true story while making eye-awakening points about child homelessness in his film, Lion.

While stabbing his viewers in the heart with real world instances, Davis gives us a taste of the hardships of a persistent young, lost Indian boy looking to survive amongst India’s 400,000 homeless children.

We fear for Saroo, and we wish for him to succeed.  

When we sense danger, we whisper to Saroo through the screen for him to be safe, as if he could hear us.

The beginning is simple and captivating in its telling.  

The second half, packed with dialogue and combatting inner thoughts, struggles to maintain its simplicity.  

After being captured by police and brought to a government center for abandoned children, Saroo is adopted by an Australian family, and the movie portrays an older English speaking Saroo (Dev Patel).

Raised by his adoptive mother (Nicole Kidman) and father (David Wenham), Saroo studies business and hospitality at the Australian International Hotel School and meets his American girlfriend (Rooney Mara).

Delighted that he is safe and has begun a successful life, we are oblivious to other emotions and unfinished problems that might surface.

Unsettling flashes and memories of his brother Guddu and mother cut into his life, reminding him of the family that he has left behind.

Overwhelmed with guilt, Saroo’s desire to reunite with his biological mom intensifies.

Worried by what his adoptive parents’ reaction might be, Saroo spends long nights secretly using revolutionized technology like Google Earth to search for his lost family.

Simply listening to Lion’s soundtrack, Dustin O’Halloran’s instrumental music is enough to tug at our heartstrings.

Flowing dramatically from scene to scene, we love and root for the resourceful young Saroo in the beginning of his story.

Yet as the setting changes to Australia, Davis begins to lose this emotional, loving effect as he becomes captured in telling the plot rather than portraying accurately how lost Saroo is.

Despite this rather tied-up portrayal of the second half, viewers can not deny Lion’s beautiful, heart-wrenching, realistic story and fairytale ending.

If you choose to see it, you will be overwhelmed with emotion.

Be prepared to witness the most tear-jerking movie released in 2016.