I am a massive fan of of Rooney Mara but she’s honestly nowhere near any of the top reasons why I enjoyed this (and she’s not in it that much). I don’t think this film will be for everybody because it is meant to be emotional and can seem like award season bait. “Oscar bait” as you’d call it comes out later in the year and they tend to be films that attempt to tap into your emotions. I truly enjoyed this film though, way more than I thought I would. This is basically a much better version of Slumdog Millionaire. Slumdog is honestly a bit of a mess, uninspired, and doesn’t feel realistic. This (obviously based on a true story) is more or less a rags to riches story as well that is set in India and then shifts to Australia.
The lead character lives in poverty with his mother and siblings and gets separated one night when he falls asleep on a train. He travels to areas in Calcutta where he struggles to understand Bengali and does not remember enough details to get home. He eventually ends up being adapted and has a successful life but then longs to find his family. It might be from being fresh out of the theater but I was quite emotionally attached to the protagonists quest to find his family.
There are things that could be improved from a storytelling perspective, especially with the lack of focus on the adopted brother and his relationship with Nicole Kidman’s character. I’ll let it slide though because it was a fulfilling experience watching this film. I Also one could argue that Dev Patel’s character’s struggle with trying to find his family was drawn out. Not that its a bad thing. The real life Saroo spend many years struggling with his dual identity and longing to find out where his biological family is. I know this might not get a lot of Award season love but I hope it at least gets nominated for Best Picture, and Best Adapted Screenplay. You’ll be emotionally moved by the credits.