LION avoids the pitfalls of melodrama into a pure juice, which leaves in place the emotion in unexpected places, especially among the secondary characters. Complex, despite its appearance hollywood.
The story (true) : a 5-year-old, Saroo found himself alone on a train crossing India who takes him in spite of him thousands of miles from his family. Lost, the boy must learn to survive alone in the huge city of Calcutta. After months of wandering, he is raised in an orphanage and adopted by a couple of Australians.
25 years later, Saroo became a true australian, but begins to wonder about his indian origins. Armed with a few rare memories, he begins to browse satellite photos on Google Earth, in the hope of recognizing his village.
But can you imagine a return to a simple family in a country of a billion people ?
All it takes is the stroke of watch the trailer to be convinced : the LION, will be a big mash of families or will not be.
It’s really interesting to see how is built here the melodrama. If LION complies to the letter with the codes of the genre (empathy with the protagonist, uprooting brutal, rehabilitation in a new environment, epiphany, return trip and happy weekend hardcore), it is in the time, the meaning and the emotion emanating from each step that the film stands out.
The first part of the film introduces us to the two déracinements of which is victim the very young Saroo: first, from the microcosm of the family, and the macrocosm of cultural. However, these moments do not generate truly emotional for us because the film chooses to show them from a distance, conscripts as collateral damage inherent to the social misery that defines India. Before we even present his protagonist, LION immerses us in a context where it seems impossible to get out of the concepts of determinism and inevitability, and where any error or inadequacy – human, moral, physical, or even administrative – is a synonym of permanent exclusion. Saroo and his “brothers” are in these cases: uprooting at best, death at worst, madness between the two. No place for the intimate in these considerations, but a reflection in the watermark of the portrait of a few beings, on the ambivalence of our societies.
Can we combine personal interests and consideration of the Other ? What is the fate of an individual compared to a population ? What is the scope of an individual action ? Poverty or wealth: are these considerations the social, cultural, moral, emotional ? etc
It is in seeking to formulate and then answer these existential questions, that Saroo, once adult, will begin his own journey of initiation.
With that in mind consider the complexity of the world, LION consistently encouraged to take a look contrasting on those who “help” Saroo. An unknown benevolent, a young Yuppie indian, the patron of a school for children to adopt, a foster family, a life of privilege that was not intended… Every positive action as a result, paying much more pragmatic, sometimes even capitalist – always motivated by self-interest. This simulation of the ambivalence of the human being makes persistent the lived experience of each character (we remind you that said that this is a true story), and enables them to extricate themselves from the negatives of the film melodramatic. It is therefore through these secondary characters, that gave birth to the emotion;
The character of Mantosh for example, the “brother”, another indian child adopted by an Australian couple: Mantosh, unlike Saroo, seems to be perfectly aware of his inadequacy to the world around it, and becomes crazy, and then downright marginal 25 years later. Ill-being due to depression of Sue, the adoptive mother of him and of Saroo. And that’s where Saroo will collide frontally with the question : “are we here to our place, Mantosh and me ?” that will manifest itself to him the absurdity of his existence and that of his brother. The eyes of Dev Patel (Saroo) and Divian Ladwa (Mantosh) during these epiphanies, are extremely bearers of emotion. There’s also this scene where Sue explains to Saroo the reasons for its adoption, which is proving to be particularly touching because all the weight drama of the film rests on this perspective on past actions – Nicole Kidman deserved her Oscar just for this moment.
“More than a simple melodrama taking place in a scenery postcard, Lion key just a” Click To Tweet
The emotion is thus not necessarily passages that are expected like the famous separation and reunion, but rather when Saroo – shown as a surviving passive, not seeking to change his fate, but simply to deal wisely in the place it was assigned – manages finally to become more than this simple definition, and to consider the complexity and versatility of the world around them. A stage of life, between carefree youth and adulthood synonymous with taking responsibility, to which we can all identify: the moment where one must decide, in full knowledge of the cause, what place we wish to occupy on this Earth. Emancipate themselves, to discover other forms of love, develop a personality, obsessions, career, discover the immensity of the world and so on. Saroo himself, becomes our hero because he earns enough in maturity to become the hero of his story, and begin its path to resilience. He is the one who understands better than anyone the importance of a positioning vis-à-vis the world, and to know oneself – and, by extension, its origins.
With LION, the travel life is much more interesting than the destination emotional.
We highlight, despite a few flaws (minimal if it attaches to the qualities of reflection of the film), like that of paraphrase by the image of certain emotions, particularly those related to the memories. The intervention of Lucy (Rooney Mara), if it will prove to be important from the point of view intimate, is cinematically pretty missed (romance ultimate seemingly imposed, dialogues bad). Also, the impression of a film sponsored by Google, as the “climax” is based on the use of the search engine geographical society of california. Finally, what we see as an interior journey for the protagonist, could also be called “filler”, depending on the mood.
We will therefore LION film avoiding cleverly the clichés – both in terms of melodrama that the representation of an exotic country – , and where empathy late of the protagonist for the beautiful secondary characters are used fully the emotion. By focusing on these points, and bypassing the landmarks of the genre, the LION manages to cause a certain amount of reflection, and even to touch us.
Your opinion ?
• Achievement : Garth Davis
• Scenario : Luke Davies based on the work of Saroo Brierley
• Main actors : Dev Patel, Rooney Mara, Nicole Kidman, David Wenham
• Release Date : February 22, 2017
• Duration : 1h58min