“Not even a week after the screening of Nocturnal Animals with Tom Ford, I get a chance for another post film Q&A. This time, Lion with Dev Patel. Or at least it was initially just Dev. By the time it came around, they added actor Sunny Pawar and film subject Saroo Brierley. But first we talk about the movie before we talk about the post-movie.
This film is basically split in half. In the first half, five year old Saroo (Sunny Pawar) accidentally ends up on a train for three days in India, and gets lost thousands of kilometers from home. He doesn’t speak the language of the region, nor does he have any idea where his home is. We follow him until he’s eventually rescued from the streets and adopted by an Australian family (Nicole Kidman and David Wenham) and taken to their home. The second half picks up with adult Saroo (Dev Patel), now happily living in Australia, but still haunted by his past knowing that he may still have family out there that don’t know what happened to him 25 years ago. He devotes all his energy to trying to find them, the tiny slum in the haystack that is India.
The story is one of the most moving to be portrayed on screen this year. The moderator for the Q&A joked that they left the credits running in the dark before starting in order to give everyone time to wipe their tears. I chatted with someone while waiting in line to get our parking validated and she too expressed so much emotion. And it’s not just one aspect of the story. The whole thing is so layered with some really solid themes. The lost child, adoption from mulitple perspectives, the search for your past, reconciling two distinct pieces of your life, just so much going on, all beautifully put together.
After the film, most of the questions actually went to Saroo, in hopes of filling in some of the blanks and getting more of the story. That was really cool. I don’t think I’ve ever had that opportunity to hear in person from someone who a film was about. And of course there were questions aimed at the two actors there, especially with little Sunny stealing the show as he did in the film.
When it was over, I expected the guests to be quickly ushered out as they typically are, but they paused momentarily as crowd rushed up. Well of course I was gonna run up there too. I pulled out my ticket and a sharpie and set my phone camera to face the right way and politely pushed toward Dev. His handlers were trying to usher him along, but he was trying to give back where he could. I was able to get my ticket and pen in front of him, and as he signed, I held up my phone “”Quick selfie?”” Framed it perfectly, hit the button, thanked him, and claimed my ticket as I saw him quickly exit. Then I looked at my phone. Turned out, I didn’t actually hit the button. NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! I know I’m bad at selfies, but I’m still not sure what went wrong because an equal mix of bad and good luck. At least I have pix of the panel, even if I don’t have a shiny new FB profile pic.
Lion – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/”