Wednesday, July 12

Movie Pick: You Gotta See Lion ~ @AuthorKristina Knight

I've been meaning to watch the movie "Lion" for a while now, but I could never interest RadioMan (other than a reluctant 'sure, we'll watch that...some time...'). Over the weekend, I saw the movie had arrived on Netflix and decided to watch it on my own.

And I'm both glad and sorry that I did. Mostly glad, ugly cry and all.

About the movie: It's based on a true story ~ Dev Patel's character Saroo we first meet as a five year old boy, tagging along after his older brother as they try to help their mother earn money. She is a poor laborer in India in the mid-1980s. Saroo's brother tries to go out of the house without him one morning, but Saroo convinces him to let him come anyway. On their trip (this time, they are scouring trains for dropped coins, bits of food, etc), Saroo becomes tired and when the brother can't wake him, leaves him on a bus station bench, telling him to stay put (to this point, the entire movie is in Indian languages and is a bit hard to follow BUT, you is followable). Saroo awakes some time later, still alone and begins looking for his brother; the brother is gone. Saroo gets on a train, hoping to find him; the train is empty but he gets locked in and it leaves the station. 1600 kilometers later, the train (still locked with Saroo inside) arrives in Calcutta - only he doesn't speak the language and most of the people in the ultra-busy train station think he's a begger, just trying to get money from them. Eventually (and there are some harrowing runs from child traffickers and a potential child molester), a kind young man sees Saroo mimicking him with a spoon he's found in the dirt; that boy takes him to a police officer. The problem is that Saroo doesn't speak Bengalese (I don't think I'm spelling that right) and his description/name for his little town doesn't show up on any map they can find. He's sent to an orphanage and eventually is adopted by a kind Australian couple. Fast-forward 20 years, he's a well-adjusted adult, starting a hospitality program and eventually tells some friends about his beginning...they spark an idea that he should try to find his home using Google Earth. He tries, on his own because he's afraid his search will cause pain to his adoptive parents, but can't find it. Eventually - months later - on a whim, he takes his search even farther out and finds a place that seems right to him. He searches some more and finds that is his lost home. And he knows he has to go back, to let them know he's okay.

And here are Kristina's thoughts on the movie: First, you will ugly cry during this movie. And often. You will ugly cry in anger (80,000 Indian children go missing every year, most are never heard from again...and most are trafficked), you will ugly cry at the resilience of 5 year old Saroo (who survived on his own for 2 months by scrounging for dropped bits of fruit, coins, etc), and you will ugly cry during the conversation at the orphanage (even though it's in Bengalese and not translated/no captions offered) because, the expressions of the child actor are so freaking spot on. Without understanding the words, you'll know he's asking: what about my family/I have a family, and the poor worker explaining to him that they have no way of finding the family (there have been searches at this point, pictures in newspapers, all going nowhere) and that this is his best option. And, god, you're going to ugly cry when Nicole Kidman's Sue (his adoptive mom) talks to him the first time, knowing he doesn't understand her, but telling him she's going to be right there with him through whatever comes next.

You might need a whole box of tissue for that talk, and it talks all of about 45 seconds, and it's all one sided.

Get another box of tissues ready when he starts the search and begins pushing everyone away - because he blames himself for becoming a lost child, and because he's desperately afraid he'll hurt the people he loves with this search.

Get another box of tissues ready when he goes back to India, when he walks down the streets that he's been dreaming of (very real, visual dreams of the place where he spent the first 5 years of his life) since beginning the search (he'd kind of stuffed all that down inside him until the search began). And when he finds his mom...gah, your heart is going to melt because she knows it's him and is practically falling over from relief and disbelief...

And I know a big part of my crying was because of bebe - because if she decides to find her biological family one day, it won't be the kind of reunion that Saroo had with his family. She doesn't know a lot about her adoptive family - yet - and I both dread and look forward to the day when she does know. Look forward because I don't like the feeling that I'm keeping things from her...dread because there are things that I really wish she would never have to know.

But back to the movie, if you haven't seen it - it's a definite watch-with-a-box-of-tissues handy...I turned off the movie feeling absolutely drained...but absolutely renewed at the same time. Because if a 5  year old from India can not only survive, but thrive after all the things thrown at can I.

What is the last movie you watched that left you feeling drained but optimistic at the same time?                                                                                                          ~Kristina


  1. It sounds wonderful, but I'm not sure I could bear to watch it. I just hope bebe always knows who her "real" family is and that they're always going to be "right there with her." I'm sniffly just reading this.

    1. It really was a good movie - my one complaint is that the parts (about 45 minutes or so) of the movie that are in Bengalese (and I still don't think I'm spelling that right) aren't at *least) captioned. But, then, I'm not sure they could be as Saroo is speaking one language and other people are speaking another...I think his 'lostness' might lose something, you know?

      And thank you. :D

  2. I cry at car commercials, so avoid these kinds of movies and stick to comedy, adventure, and Sci-fi (and still I cry because there is always "that moment "). The most recent cry-fests: Moana, Inside Out, and the first five minutes of Pete's Dragon.

    You're raising bebe to be strong enough to handle the knowledge that she is so much more than "where she came from." When the time comes, you will both survive and thrive and your relationship will be stronger for it. Take heart!

  3. Just watched Lion the other night on Netflix--oh, man, I nearly had to turn it off in the beginning when he was lost--Grandboy is five and I just kept thinking about him the whole time. Yeah, I ugly-cried...but wow, a great film!

    1. it really, really is a great film - I was right there with you during those first moments. There had to have been all kinds of angels watching over him, I think.

  4. I'm like Ava; I cry at commercials, so I'm pretty sure I'm going to be a hot mess through this movie. But it's a movie I want to see too. I'll lay in a big supply of tissues.