A five-year-old Indian boy, Saroo, gets lost on the streets of Calcutta, thousands of kilometres from home. He's too young to tell the authorities who he is or where he came from. Saroo survives many alarming confrontations before being adopted by a couple in Australia. 25 years later, he returns to India to find his lost family.
Sunny Pawar's Saroo (Patel as a child) is a Lion. And, after the misfortune of losing his Brother and being trapped on a train to Calcutta, his fearlessness comes to the fore.
He encounters much evil in Calcutta. Wicked ways for children to be kidnapped, abused, killed or abandoned come to light in the first half hour of the film. But Saroo is savvy and seems to have the ability to "sense" the evil ones amongst the adults.
And, he runs like the wind, his primary escape vehicle on a number of occasions.
Eventually, Saroo is selected for adoption by a Married couple in Tasmania and he is sent to meet them.
The scene where he reacts to meeting his new parents Sue and John Brierley (Nicole Kidman and John Wenham) and discovering the house they live in, is poignant. A large warm room, a fridge full of food, the tears in his eyes and the relief, those emotions are all there.
As Sunny Pawar, the actor, completely won over The Academy Awards 2017 with his charm.
And, then he is blindsided by the second child that is adopted and enters the house, Mantosh (Divian Ladwa). Mantosh is the Grasshopper who fiddles while the others nest and grow as a loving family.
The change in Sue is dramatic over the years and it is Mantosh who has caused it. Sue has turned from a happy curly haired redhead, which I actually thought was a joke at first, into a despairing borderline manic-depressive because of Mantosh.
At this point Sue explains to Saroo that they made the decision to adopt because there were just too many people in the World already.
Saroo at 24 (Dev Patel) begins to look more and more like a Lion with his wild hair and the metaphor is accurate. He wants Lucy (Rooney Mara) as a wife but he is angry that his happy home is dissolving around him.
The lion finally finds "Ganesh Talai" on a Google app, his home town, and the town no-one knew when, as a child, he called it "ganatalay". So he returns to India to find his family and finds his Mother, who has gray hair with pink streaks, which is awesome.
And, then his Mother tells him that Saroo is Indian for Lion.
Such a great film, it's all there, casting, direction, cinematography and storyline. Heartfelt and heartbreaking and a long journey home.