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Lion is a perfectly serviceable feel good drama, and despite all of it schmaltz, the film ultimately leads to a satisfying emotional conclusion. There’s nothing really special about the film and it’s not breaking any new ground, but the charismatic performances and hauntingly beautiful score add to a rather standard screenplay. It’s a great true story and the film is informative enough, but there’s nothing really to stand out, despite a beautiful production.

Saroo (Sunny Pawar) is a young Indian boy separated from his family and left on the other side of the country. After being adopted by an Australian mother (Nicole Kidman), Saroo grows up as a young man (Dev Patel) and seeks out his family using Google Earth. Pawar is a great find of a young performer, giving charisma and life rarely found in such a young performer. Also strong is Patel, who’s emotional strength as a performer enhances what at times can be cheesy dialogue.

Though the character of Saroo leads this story, there’s strong supporting roles by Nicole Kidman as Saroo’s sympathetic mother and Rooney Mara as his girlfriend. The true story has a lot of inspiring moments that are interesting, and the beautiful production design and cinematography are breathtaking in taking on the character’s epic adventure. It’s a charming enough film with some brilliant performances, and despite some on the nose dialogue, it’s a worthy watch. Grade: B