We drove to Niagara Falls last night to see one of this year's movies nominated for Best Pictures at the annual Oscars awards. I'd seen a trailer for this movie while waiting to see Hidden Figures. It looked intriguing and quite unlike the typical Hollywood release.
It's based on a true story - the book A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley. Brierley's story moves from his life as a young boy living with his mother, brother and sister under difficult circumstances in India to a very different life with a new family in Australia. Without giving away too much, Saroo becomes a lost boy - in a dangerous environment, yet manages to survive. The film footage of life for street kids in Calcutta is a stunning insight into a harsh environment that is a reality for thousands of lost children.
As an adult with compassionate parents, Saroo begins a search to find his way back home, and the family that he has left behind. I was mesmerized by the early part of the movie where the young Saroo (Sunny Pawar) struggles to find his way in an alien environment. Mid movie, things slow down a bit as Saroo begins a complicated relationship with his girlfriend. This section seemed awkward and messy. Brierley has stated that he didn't really have one special girlfriend, rather a series of relationships. Perhaps that's why this love theme never really worked for me.
But the movie lifts itself out of the angst and roars rapidly towards a stunning ending. It's won a variety of film awards already and is nominated for 6 Oscars: Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Cinematography.
I couldn't stop thinking about the images, characters and situation afterwards. In a time where it's more important than ever for us to seek to understand others and learn about the world around us, the Lion teaches valuable lessons. One of my favourites this year for sure!
Sharon Frayne is a writer and artist. She is a member of the Canadian Author's Association, the Niagara Writer's Circle and the Pumphouse Art Gallery. She looks for the universal experience and the mystery in everyday things.