Review: Lion (2016)

„Based on a true story“ films are always very interesting. Even though it is fascinating that through films, or more specific through a writer’s or director’s mind, we can explore different times, planets and therefore embark on sometimes unimaginable adventures, the fact that there are real-life stories out there worth putting on film,  is even crazier. It captures our attention how people experience unimaginable pain and overcome it or how scandals won’t be brought to our attention by, for example, the media. But reading the caption „Based on a true story“ in a review or in the opening or end titles of a film has to be taken with a pinch of salt. We love stories for being innovative, creative and emotional…exactly what the film industry is famous for…exactly the reason why only research will tell you how TRUE „based on“ in each and every case is.

Since I go to the movies often the wake-up call that „Based on a True Story“ doesn’t mean the shown story has to be mostly accurate came some time ago. I am now able to separate the fact that a film is based or inspired by true events and, with the golden touch of Hollywood (or any other film industry), dramatized and emotionalized. With that knowledge I can now enjoy the film for what it is as a film and not bicker too much about plot devices or the fact that things or events are exaggerated.

I found some interesting facts about other „Based on a True Story“-films here: LINK

„Lion“ tells the story of Saroo Brierly, who at age 5 gets lost in his home country India and through lucky or unlucky circumstances (that’s for you to determine) was adopted to Australia, where many years later he starts searching for his original home and family through Google Earth.

Directed by Garth Davis (it’s his feature debut) and produced by The Weinstein Company (as of the last couple of years a guarantee for award nominations) „Lion“ is a heartfelt and touching story, beautifully told and definitely one for the tissue industry (it wasn’t only me sobbing in the theater, I heard them :P). Focused on the search it leaves the emotional depth of the character in the background, which could have been a film of its own. Beautifully acted by Dev Patel and the adorable Sunny Pawar, the film comments in a very obvious and direct way on the Indian child care system. Another one of those films where as a spoiled Westerner you look shocked at what the world could be and how grateful you should be.

With an already unbelievable story as the base, „Lion“ still manages to grip your attention for the entire 2 hours. You are stuck in your seat, can’t believe what’s happening and next to shaking your head and feeling your heart break for this young boy and later man, there is a sense of will growing inside you. You root for him. „Lion“ is a worthy Best Feature Film Drama nominee at the Golden Globes, though it is up against strong opponents and might not win. Still, a nomination is already a recognition and it’s another one of those films you should definitely go see at the theater. And if you do, don’t jump up from your seat the second the credits start rolling. Enjoy the music and sit for a moment longer…there is a treat coming your way.


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