Opening February 23, 2017
Directed by: Garth Davis
Writing credits: Saroo Brierley, Luke Davies
Principal actors: Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, Rooney Mara, Sunny Pawar
Young Saroo (Pawar) lives with his mother and siblings in a small, impoverished village in the far North East of India. The family exists by taking on whatever work is available, from moving rocks to stealing coal from a moving train. One day the five-year- old Saroo falls asleep on a train that takes him far away from everything he knows and loves. In Calcutta, 1200 kilometers from home, all alone and unable to speak the language, Saroo must find a way to survive on the dangerous city streets.
After three months fending for himself Saroo is taken off the streets and placed in an orphanage where he is soon adopted by an Australian couple. The new home and family is both loving and kind giving Saroo a new life full of opportunity. It is only when Saroo (Patel) leaves his small Tasmanian community to attend college in Melbourne does he begin to remember more from his first five years and all that he left behind in India. Armed with these memories Saroo starts a quest to find his first family and true home. After a few years Saroo does indeed fulfill his dream and with the help of Google Earth he finds the part of himself that was lost 25 years before.
The closing scenes feature the actual meeting between Saroo’s birth mother and his adopted mother, Sue Brierley, played by Nicole Kidman in the film. If you manage to remain dry eyed until now, this will bring misty eyes.
The performance by Sunny Pawar is heartbreakingly soulful for a five-year-old and could be the beginning of another story such as the one we saw with Dev Patel after Slumdog Millionaire. It is worth remembering that Saroo was one of the lucky ones; as such a young, vulnerable child he could easily have joined the ranks of what today is over 80,000 missing children in India, most never to be found. (Christine R.)