If you’ve ever been mesmerized by the ability to explore the word from your laptop using google earth, you can try to imagine what it might be like to try to find a location without an address. But, now try to imagine finding a location that you last visited at the age of 5, that is in one of the most populated locations in the world, and that you think is somewhere within an area with a diameter of 1,200 km… that’s what Dev Patel, the lead character in Lion, tries to convey.

Having played an Indian Mathematician in The Man Who Knew Infinity and a kid from an Indian slum in Slumdog Millionaire, Dev Patel’s role as the adult Saroo was not typical for him. It’s no secret that certain actors are cast according to their looks or persona rather than their raw acting talent. Attractive female actresses may have trouble finding roles other than love interest, comedians may have difficulty attaining more serious roles, and other actors may never find work that breaks the stereotypes of their weight or skin color. In this film Patel plays a hunky Australian student far removed from his roots in India.

Lion is a film based on the true story of Saroo Brierley, a boy adopted by an Australian couple after becoming lost in India at the age of 5. The movie does a lot of storytelling with and without dialogue, and the film explores what it might have been like for Saroo to run from child traffickers or stay in an over-crowded orphanage in India. The complexities of adoption are portrayed as Saroo (Patel) is forced to deal with knowns and unknowns of his past.

Lion was nominated for six Academy Awards (Best Picture, Best Actor in a Supporting Role [Dev Patel], Best Actress in a Supporting Role [Nicole Kidman], Best Writing Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Music Score, and Best Cinematography) and sports actors David Wenham, Rooney Mara, and Sunny Pawar among others. The film rides slowly, smoothly, and nostalgically through the story line, intermittently interrupting the calmness to keep the audience engaged with tense scenes or dialogue. Family, fortune, and fortitude are some themes that emerge during the movie, and though the movie takes its time with storytelling, the takeaway is worth the wait.

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