Few movies can make me cry aside from “A Walk to Remember” that gets my eyes watering every time.
Most movies, even sad ones, don’t cause the tears to come.
But the Oscar-nominated movie “Lion” had me crying multiple times throughout the movie.
Going into the movie, I didn’t know what I was getting into.
Before planning to go see the film, I looked up a synopsis of the movie, which said a young Indian boy is separated from his family and then later uses Google Earth to find them.
I thought it would be a happy, feel-good movie to watch on a Saturday night.
Though I left the theater very satisfied, happy would not be the best way to describe the film.
The movie begins with young Saroo, a 5-year-old boy from a small village in India, going off to work with his older brother Guddu.
Guddu tells Saroo he should stay home because the work is too difficult for a young child, but Saroo insists.
The two children ride off on a train and stop where Guddu leaves Saroo asleep on a bench while he inquires about work.
Saroo wakes up and boards an empty train thinking Guddu would be aboard, but he was wrong.
The train takes Saroo thousands of kilometers away to Calcutta, away from his family.
After surviving on the streets for a few weeks by searching for anything edible and anywhere to sleep and running away from multiple people who want to hurt him, Saroo finds himself in an orphanage.
During the intense beginning part of the movie, my stomach churned, and I sat with my eyes glued to the screen.
My mind was having a hard time processing all that Saroo had to deal with as a 5-year-old away from his mother — the dirt, the hunger, the evil people.
After spending some months in the orphanage, Saroo is told an Australian couple that lives in Tasmania has adopted him.
Saroo’s adoptive parents later adopt another Indian boy named Mantosh.
The movie fast-forwards more than 20 years later to an older Saroo who is studying hotel management and has a girlfriend named Lucy.
He begins to think about how he could possibly find out more about his past
and his family.
Saroo becomes so obsessed with using maps, calculations and Google Earth to track down the train stations he remembers in India, that he lets himself go, he quits his job and leaves Lucy.
During this time, Saroo and his mother share a special moment when Saroo apologizes to his mother that she didn’t have biological children.
His adoptive mother Sue responds that she and her husband could have had their own children, but they wanted to adopt.
At this point, the tears are definitely not being held back.
I think about what a special bond there is between a mother and a son, especially an adopted son who carried so much emotional baggage with him before even meeting his adoptive mother.
Saroo continues his Google Earth search, but one night he expands his search area and discovers a familiar plot of land he remembers standing in as a child.
From there he finds his hometown of Ganesh Talai, which he had been pronouncing wrong since his childhood.
He travels to India and to his childhood village where he finds the shack he lived in filled with goats.
He speaks with a man in the village, and the man takes Saroo away from the shack where he is reunited with his mother.
* Cue all the tears. *
The two embrace, and the intense beginning of the movie was worth it for that moment.
Saroo meets his sister, but he learns that Guddu died and the last time he ever would see him was on that train station years ago.
At the very end of the movie, real footage of a meeting between Saroo, his birth mom and his adoptive mom is shown, and if anyone in the theater didn’t have tears in their eyes beforehand, they did then.
The lights in the theater rose, and I didn’t know what to say.
What a beautiful picture of what adoption can look like. And what a beautiful moment of reunion to be portrayed in a motion picture.
It is also revealed that Saroo had been pronouncing his name wrong his whole life, and it was actually “Sheru,” meaning Lion.
My mind is still processing the whole movie, but “Lion” raises important thoughts about how we can be so comfortable in our easy and luxurious lives while children like Saroo are wondering the streets with no family or guidance.