I am disappointed that Lion is not one of the best film nominations for a Bafta but has been included in the list for an Oscar. Dev Patel should get the award for best supporting Actor and Nicole Kidman as his adopting mother gives her best screen performance meriting the award for best supporting actress. The film is not about lions, and forget the tile which is explained at the end of the film. The film credit opens with a warning of intense emotional scenes which is an understatement as I have never openly and unashamedly cried more, and was not alone, and in a packed early evening cinema there were audible cries of joy and sadness as the film ended.
Over the past year, I have attend two of the nominated films during performances with a few others but the level of early evening midweek audience at the Cineworld Bolden suggests to me there is word of mouth that this is an impotent film to experience because it is based on a remarkable true story and is retold in such a powerful way. I shall be very angry if La La Land with its evident studio hype gets more awards on either night.
As a child, I was taken on a family trip to Brighton and was left on my own in the railway station while the accompanying female adults went the loo. I had no sense of time, was on my own in a strange place and burst into tears attracting the attention of passers-by who comforted me until a family adult reappeared. Those who have seen the trailer, read a review, or the book, know the film is about a child in India who became lost at a railway station, is adopted by a family in Tasmania, Australia and as an adult is driven by the need to search for his birth mother, his brother and his sister.
I also remember the terror I felt when being taken to a hospital to have my tonsils and adenoids removed and when aged eleven being taken with a small case to a children’s home, in the first instance persuading an adult to bring be back home before admission, and on the second when she visited the following day or soon after and where I spent several years in later life trying to find the children’s home without success.
There is also one moment from that great film Dr Zhivago when Rita Tushingham, the young adult Tanya Komarova explains to her uncle, Yevgraf Zhivago played by Alec Guiness, how she became lost, “he let go my hand.”
It is said some 80000 children become lost in India at any one time, live on the streets or find themselves in forms of residential care where in both situations they are at risk of exploitation and abuse trafficking. No one has yet estimated the number of children lost and alive, as well as lost at sea who are presently alone, trafficked abused as families attempt to escape the atrocities committed in the battle of powers to profit from the rebuilding and natural assets of Syria, Iraq and Libya.
What the film, Lion achieves, is to communicate the terror of such situations and the long-term impact, even for those who experience loving and thoughtful childhoods. There is a level of depth in the emotional and mental experiences portrayed in this film which is equalled in this extraordinary year by the performances such as by Casey Affleck in Manchester by the Sea, Emily Blunt Girl on a Train, and I am as led to believe but to see, Natalie Portman in Jackie.