Quick Hit: Dev Patel turns in a fantastic performance in the story of a man that just wants to find home.
Hello and welcome to Oscar’s time here at DoubleFeaturePreachers.com. Time is short, and so unfortunately, we won’t be able to watch all the movies for all the categories for the Oscars. So, instead, what we are going to do for you, is watch all the nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Actress. This will inevitably cover a lot of the heavy hitters (I believe that will cause us to hit all the submissions for Best Director and most of the ones for the supporting categories as well), but it pains me to state we won’t be able to watch every submission. This will all lead up to the Friday before the Academy Awards, in which we will state our predictions for any categories where we have watched all the films. How does that sound, Faithful Readers?
So, without further ado, let’s start with a movie that was nominated for six Oscars : Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Dev Patel), Best Supporting Actress (Nicole Kidman), Best Adapted Screenplay (Luke Davies), Best Achievement in Cinematography (Greig Fraser), and Best Original Score (Dustin O’Halloran).
Lion starts with a young boy and his brother stealing coal from a train. It’s obvious that they’re very poor – both boys are skinny and wearing a bit more than rags. But young Saroo (played by Sunny Pawar) is simply outstanding. As the movie progresses, Saroo is lost. He traverses a lot of bad things before eventually finding his way to an orphanage. Throughout this entire time period, he is simply trying to find his way back home.
He’s then adopted by two Australians, played by David Wenham and Nicole Kidman. They simply want to love their new child, and they do, eventually adopting another more troubled child, Mantosh. From here, we fast forward twenty or so years. Saroo is now a young man (Dev Patel), going off to college. There he meets Lucy (Roony Mara), and Lucy and his friends eventually pull a memory of childhood out of him. After the idea of finding his family is brought up to him, Saroo becomes obsessed, foregoing his relationships, his job, and his hygiene, in order to track down his mother using Google Earth and his memories.
This film is very well put together. There is a very compelling story when it comes to finding your way home – it’s one that is visited over and over in movies (Hello? E.T. phone home anyone?). Therefore it’s beautiful to watch a young man accomplish this, even at the expense of everything else. It’s in these scenes, when Saroo is at his lowest point, where Dev Patel really earns his nomination. He’s tremendous, looking thoroughly haunted, as his hair hangs around his face and he clicks continuously on the screen.
Another thing (and Academy voters recognized this as well) that was great was the score. Music can add or detract so much from a film, and the variety of instruments used in different parts of the movie really added to the emotion that you felt in different scenes. Make no mistake, the content is plenty emotional (there were very few dry eyes in the audience), but the music sells it further. As you listen to the swell of the classical music, you can’t help but feel the movie in your heart.
Overall, Lion is a beautifully shot film with a beautiful story, and well worthy of its Oscar nominations. I’m going to give it an “A-“.
For more on this film, check out IMDB.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"