Monday, January 30, 2017


Oscar season has begun and Lion is the first film I saw knowing it was a contender. I have many many more to view over the next month and have missed quite a few too.
I do love this time of the year, it is exciting, and all these quality films fill my soul and warm my heart, and most importantly make my brain work overtime!
Before I get into the film I need to write about my experience today.  Because going to the cinema is so much more than watching the film.
I don’t like crowds, I don’t like people I don’t know sitting on top of me. This is why I prefer to frequent quieter cinemas and odd times where they will not be full.
I had planned my day perfectly, stayed in bed reading until the last moment, got ready and headed for the 11.40 session at Hoyts Charlestown. I drove around the three carparks for 25 minutes and failed to secure a park. By this stage it was too late to head to the Charlestown Square carpark and make it to the film on time. So I drove home.
Luckily I live fairly close to the cinema, so I made it back for the 1.30 session with plenty of time to make it to the other carpark if needed! I scored a park immediately...of course.
Anyway I took my seat, carefully choosing one near no one, which was easy as there was hardly anyone in the cinema. I must add that Hoyts have done up the cinemas there and they are amazing, only $12 and ALL the seats are recliner, comfy, and wonderful. I’m all set, and a few minutes before the film starts a family come in and sit in all the seats to my right including the seat right next to me where I had left my choc top wrapper. I was sitting looking gobsmacked, the entire row behind me was free as the lady picked up my wrapper like it was a layer of skin dripping in blood. I said I can take that it is mine, I left it there as I really didn’t think anyone would sit on top of me.
And she sat down, dripping in very strong, cheap perfume with the biggest bucket of popcorn (I hate the smell of cinema popcorn).
And the movie started.
I just do not understand people, they say hell is other people and I agree. Why would you do that? And it is not the first time this has happened to me.
And the thing that made it worse, we’re all reclined, so basically lying side by side, in a very very intense film. I felt vulnerable and annoyed. I just wish people would think about others. And I guess this sounds like I am thinking about myself here. Not really, I choose where I sat as I have bad sinus and I’m a crier and knew I would be a mess (and possibly a slightly noisy mess) during this film. So maybe that will make these people think twice before sitting on top of someone again. But stupid is as stupid does!
Enough of my ranting.
Lion...I knew the story, I had read an article about it a few years back when the story actually happened. I remember being very moved by the story and incredibly impressed by how he found his way back home.
Lion is the story of Saroo, who at 5 gets separated from his older brother in Calcutta, India. Ends up on a train, which takes him miles away from his home town and family and he ends up in an orphanage.
The first part of the film is the child’s story and the young actor, Sunny Pawar is astonishing. It is filmed beautifully and the cinematography is outstanding and sweeping, yet real and harsh. Saroo grew up in the slums, collecting coal off the train tracks to sell for milk. In fact this section of the film reminded me of a lovely indie Indian film from a few years ago called Crow’s Egg.
By the end of this section Saroo is adopted by a Tasmanian Couple, John and Sue Brierley (David Wenham and Nicole Kidman). Saroo settles, but a second child they adopt, not so much. I knew nothing of this part of the story, and it added depth to these characters. Wenham was solid, but Kidman was outstanding. I was such a fan of Kidman’s in her early years, and felt she has never really shown what she can possibly be on the big screen. In recent years, her plastic face and dramas off the screen seem to overtake any ability that may lie beneath the surface. Every few years, we catch a glimpse, and this is one of them. There is no vanity here for her and she is remarkable, especially later on in the film.
The end section is Saroo (now grown up as Dev Patel) coming to terms with his past and this is when it just goes straight to your heart. He uses Google Earth as suggested by a friend and starts to try and locate his little village with just his minimal memory. He struggles with his past, his loss, and the impact on his present family and love, Rooney Mara.
But finally he finds his way home.  This story is well known, I’m not giving anything away here.
What surprised me was how well it presented, how well it was acted, and what a great screenplay it was.
This is a large movie about a little story. Luke Davies’ screenplay is great. He has written a few screenplays before but I love his poetry the most, raw and heartbreaking, and from that alone, you knew it would be great.
And it is Dev Patel’s movie, he is just perfection. I’ve been a fan since his debut in Skins, and loved him in The Newsroom. He has grown into a gorgeous young man (can I add Phoar!) and a great actor, he nailed the Aussie accent.

Lion will give you all the feels, don’t hesitate to see it (like I nearly did) because you know the story. Watching the story you know unfold is mesmerising and totally worth it. And stay until the very end, it’s important!

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