Dev Patel plays a real-life figure separated from his family in central India at age five and reunited with them a quarter-century later in this uplifting drama that also stars Nicole Kidman and Rooney Mara.
A tremendously moving performance from Dev Patel is the resilient soul of Lion, the incredible true story of Saroo Brierley and his tenacious quest to find the family from whom he was separated 25 years earlier.
But the role is made even more affecting by its through line from the equally indelible work of Sunny Pawar, the remarkable young actor who plays him at age five in the film's wrenching opening chapter.
Garth Davis, who comes from a background in commercials and co-directed the lauded drama series Top of the Lake with Jane Campion, has chosen wisely for his first feature project.
It's that relatively rare breed — a classy crowd pleaser.
The Telegraph: "Nicole Kidman's Oscar contender will rip you to pieces." (4 stars)
The Guardian: "From the moment director Garth Davis places his camera high above a desolate railway station to capture five-year-old Saroo (the remarkable Sunny Pawar), vulnerable and separated from his older brother, we are emotionally snared by this story." (4 stars)