A true story, "Lion" depicts the vulnerability of street urchins in India. And, as the film captures, there are plenty of them.
Five-year-old Saroo gets separated from his brother. Consequently, he winds up thousands of miles from his loving but poverty-ridden family.
Twice, he is fortunate enough to run away from predators who would entrap him in what would have probably been sexual slavery.
He lives by his wits and charm before being swooped up into a Dickensian type of children's shelter. But there, he is among the few who is targeted for adoption.
A wonderful middle class couple in Australia adopts him. Initially those are days of heaven.
Then things get complicated.
The second street urchin they adopt is severely troubled- a head-banger and screamer. That's hard on the family.
In addition, like many of those who have been adopted, Saroo,has a longing to find his family of origin. He feels guilty that his mother might be searching for him.
But when he was five he didn't have a clear memory of his native village. It's Google Maps to the rescue. The adult Saroo becomes so consumed with the struggle to pinpoint that location that he becomes estranged from his adopted family, significant other and career.
The true story does have a happy ending, at least for this one child. In hopes that Saroo would return, the mother never moved. The brother had died in an accident but his sister is still alive. His parents from Australia journey to meet his family in India.
But as the blurb at the end of the film hammers, so many other children on the streets of India aren't so fortunate. Also, we get it how much the adopted might suffer. We might have assumed that once they reach a safe harbor they will be just fine. Wrong.
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