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Lion

Director:  Garth Davis
Year Released:  2016
Rating:  2.0

Doe-eyed Saroo (Sunny Pawar), living in India with his older brother, mother and sister in abject poverty, is separated from his brother one night and ends up alone on a train that takes him to Calcutta - from there, he's rescued by social workers and adopted by an Australian family (his step-mom is played by Nicole Kidman), but he makes it his mission to use Google (!) and find his real family again. The introductory child-in-peril setup is milked for sympathy (he's nearly molested! he's nearly arrested!) but then once it hits the "20 years later" title card it loses a great deal of drive, trading in the early sense of fear and claustrophobia for mopey nostalgia. The relationship between college-age Saroo (Dev Patel) and sympathetic girlfriend Lucy (Rooney Mara) feels like an 'add-in' instead of a true bond between two people; the Melbourne scenes hit the same note repeatedly (essentially, "I want to go home, I want to go home"). It's a 21st century Sally Struthers infomercial disguised as a feature film: the title they gave it (based on a translation of Saroo's birth name, which he couldn't pronounce) is more digestible than my suggestion, Save Us, Rich White People.

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