In Lion, Saroo, a twenty-something Indian, who’d been adopted by an Australian family (Nicole Kidman & David Wenham) when he was six (an amazing portrayal by Sunny Pawar), decides to search for his biological mother. Dev Patel makes a transfixing, gorgeous lead, while Rooney Mara is, after that woeful turn in Carol, alluring once again. One of us was incredibly moved by Lion, especially when it was set in India—indeed, the vision of India is textured and detailed—and the movie is one of her favorites this year. On the other hand, one of us found the narrative approach of Lion one-dimensional; it seemed like an aestheticized, sentimental tearjerker with one-note characters, most notably, Patel’s character, who wasn’t shaded enough: he was shown to be an all around good guy on a mission—there was nothing complicated about him. Both of us agreed, though, that the aestheticization was remarkable. Greg Fraser’s camerawork, especially a stream of stunning aerials that serve as a metaphor for a map, and the score, by Dustin O’Halloran and Hauschka, are equally soaring. Plus, you can’t go wrong with Sia doing the exit music. In terms of uplift, you can’t go any higher.
In English, Bengali, & Hindi.
By Alec Julian & Carrie White