Under Her Eye review: Lion

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Read the shortlisted Under Her Eye reviews then vote for your favourite.

As part of Stylist’s Under Her Eye initiative, we’re on the hunt for three new female film critics. We asked aspiring reviewers to send in a 450-word review of their favourite film – and after an overwhelming response, we’ve whittled it down to a shortlist of 20. 

Read one woman’s review of Lion below and click here to see the other entries and vote for your favourite.

On the day Lion was released in January 2017 the world felt like a pretty shitty place. 

In the US, Donald Trump, Troll-haired promiser of walls, big walls, the likes of which had never been seen was being sworn in as President. Over here, anti-immigrant feeling buoyed by Brexit swept the country. In Europe, thousands of desperate people who’d risked life and limb to sail to safer shores in boats, dinghies, even children’s paddling pools were greeted with hostility at the borders. The nationalist expression ‘we need to take care of our own’ summed up the sorry state of humanity.

Looking for a teeny, tiny nugget of joy in the pile of poo that was reality I turned to my happy place, the cinema. Lion seemed an unlikely choice to lift the mood (there’s definitely no blooper reel at the end) but it had me at ‘based on true events’.

Based on true events Lion follows the incredible story of Saroo, a little Indian boy who becomes separated from his older brother whilst scavenging for work. The five year old falls asleep on a train only to wake up in bustling Kolkata thousands of miles away from his rural home. After being taken in to an abusive care facility his fortunes change when he is adopted by the Brierlys, a benevolent Australian couple who whisk him off to a new life in Tasmania. A few years later the adult Saroo played impressively by Dev Patel attempts to relocate his birth mother using only a vague memory of his village and Google Maps.

This however, is no paean to Google Inc. Lion with its small but stellar cast is a proper, beautifully executed tear jerker. I cried – I cried a lot. I’m not talking a rogue tear trickling down one cheek. I uglyface cried. In one pivotal scene, Sue Brierly played by the consistently brilliant Nicole Kidman talks emotionally of how she could have had children of her own but for an epiphany; a calling willing her to adopt.

I’ll be straight here. This is not my favourite movie of all time. That would be impossible to pick. It is however the movie I needed to see. I needed to be reminded that even though the world feels cruel sometimes there are some really good folk out there; people who quietly go about embracing the less fortunate, the damaged and unloved to monumentally change their lives. As long as there are people like Sue Brierly there is hope.

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