It’s hard to say why Lion works so well for me. On the surface, it’s just another Weinstein Oscar movie. But for some reason, everything just works in this film.
The first half of the movie is just brilliant. It would have ben very easy to use a flashback structure, but the decision to show Saroo’s life chronologically gives the story a more emotional hook. Sunny Pawar is amazing, and the director wisely chooses to film long scenes without dialogue to emphazise Saroo’s isolation.
In contrast, the second half of the film is more standard filmmaking, but it works. We see that Saroo is living a more normal life, but is still haunted by his past. Dev Patel is absolutely incredible, creating a believable human being that still feels like an extension of the character Sunny Pawar played. Nicole Kidman is also fantastic as his mother.
This is a film that I recognize is being emotionally manipulative, but I ultimately don’t care. This is an emotional story, and it’s one that needed to be told. I think that this film is a prime example of ‘good story, well told.’ And I think it definitely deserves all of the accolades it has recieved.