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Saroo Brierley captured the attention of the world a few years ago when he used Google Earth, along with memories from his pre-adoption childhood, to find his birthplace. He was eventually reunited with his birth mother, who still lived in a small town in northern India.

When he was only 5 years old, Saroo found himself alone in Calcutta under terrifying circumstances and landed in an orphanage. Adopted by an Australian couple, John and Sue Brierley, Saroo grew up in Tasmania.

Lion is based on Brierley’s memoir entitled A Long Way Home (Berkley). Saroo’s incredible true story is one of love and persistence. There is so much to love about this story that would be impossible without technologies that only became available in the 21st century.

The young Saroo is convincingly played by an inexperienced actor, Sunny Pawar. His separation from his family in a far-from-home city where he does not understand the language is harrowing, to say the least. Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire) plays the adult Saroo, and the second half of the movie follows him in his restlessness to understand who he is. Nicole Kidman and David Wenham play Saroo’s adoptive parents.

Not until the end of the film do we discover why the film is called Lion. Stay for the credits to see footage of the real Saroo introducing his birth mother to his adoptive parents. (Weinstein)

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