My opinion of Lion is colored by the 60 Minutes report on the story. The CBS treatment was much tighter, obviously — filling in a 14-minute segment length. The overly drawn-out film suffers in comparison to the concise and dynamic presentation by CBS.
A question that comes to mind about the evaluation of a film based on a true story that I am more or less familiar with ahead of time is “How can I fairly criticize this movie when the dramatic punch, especially as the film reaches towards its climax, has necessarily been diminished by my knowledge of the events herein?” All I can answer is that I do my best to wash out preconceived ideas, and go with the flow of the film the best I can. Knowing the outcome did not diminish my feelings toward the great Bernie (one day I’ll post on that one), Sully, Captain Phillips, The Theory of Everything, or last year’s best movie, The Walk. You can click on my “true story” tag and look at other examples for yourself.
Back to Lion. I enjoyed the first part, when our subject Saroo Brierley was a boy lost in India. But the longer adult stage lost me — it’s the much less interesting part of the story, yet the film spends an inordinate amount of time on it. Still, the performances and production values were good — I especially enjoyed Rooney Mara and the consummate Nicole Kidman. So I offer a marginal recommendation, with a more vigorous advocacy instead for the 60 Minutes segment. Unfortunately, there appears to be a subscription requirement for that. 6/10