The true story of a life lost and found.
Rooney as: Lucy
Written by: Luke Davies (screenplay), Saroo Brierley (memoir)
Directed by: Garth Davis
Other Cast: Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, Sunny Pawar, David Wenham
Release Date: November 25, 2016
Production Budget: $12m
Total Worldwide Gross: $140.3m
Filming Locations: Hobart, Tasmania, Australia and Kolkata, West Bengal, India
In LION, five-year-old Saroo (Sunny Pawar) gets lost on a train traveling away from his home and family. Frightened and bewildered, he ends up thousands of miles away, in chaotic Kolkata. Somehow he survives living on the streets, escaping all sorts of terrors and close calls in the process, before ending up in an orphanage that is itself not exactly a safe haven. Eventually Saroo is adopted by an Australian couple (Nicole Kidman and David Wenham), and finds love and security as he grows up in Hobart. As an adult, not wanting to hurt his adoptive parents’ feelings, Saroo (Dev Patel) suppresses his past, his emotional need for reunification and his hope of ever finding his lost mother and brother. But a chance meeting with some fellow Indians reawakens his buried yearning. Armed with only a handful of memories, his unwavering determination, and a revolutionary technology known as Google Earth, Saroo sets out to find his lost family and finally return to his first home.
Saroo: I’m sorry.
Lucy: My dad is just still so angry at her. I mean, not for getting sick, obviously, but just for refusing chemo. But she just knew herself, you know? She knew what her terms were, and she knew how she wanted to live, so… He just couldn’t accept that, I guess.
Saroo: And how do you feel?
Lucy: I just miss her.
Mantosh: [Gesturing to Lucy] She looks upset.
Saroo: She’s not upset.
Lucy: You don’t know how I feel.
Saroo: Can this wait?
Lucy: Where are you?
Saroo: Let’s go. Can this wait till we get home, yeah?
Lucy: What home? You mean where I’m alone in one room and you’re alone in the other room? Come on.
Saroo: Huh? How every day my real brother screams my name? Can you imagine the pain they must be in not knowing where I am? 25 years, Luce. 25!
Lucy: Why didn’t you tell me that was happening for you?
Saroo: We swum about in our privileged lives. It makes me sick. I have to find home. They need to know I’m okay.
Lucy: I have never stopped you. I want to help.
Saroo: I can’t do this anymore. You deserve more.
Lucy: Don’t you do that. Don’t you dare do that. This is on you, not on me.
Saroo: I’m worried it’ll kill her if she knew I was searching.
Lucy: You underestimate her. She needs you.
Quoting: Rooney Mara
On her attraction to the role: It was the story and script which attracted me. I wasn’t planning on working at that time but it was such a beautiful story I really wanted to be a part of it. When I spoke to Garth I felt connected with him and I really wanted to work with him.
On the film’s broad appeal: It’s a global story. I think this film has the ability to touch so many people from so many parts of the world.
On working with Dev Patel: Working with Dev has been amazing. He’s transformed so much through this film, physically and also emotionally. I’ve really loved working with him.
On working with Garth Davis: He always calls after a big day to thank you and tell you what a good job you did, and he’s just so loving.
Quoting: Cast and Crew
Director Garth Davis: All the mystery of the story just sat on her face… when she’s quiet, it’s loud; it’s really noisy with all the subtext just ripp ing up to the surface. It’s quite extraordinary. I didn’t realize just how impactful that was going to be, because a lot of the stuff happening between Lucy and Saroo is unspoken. But Rooney’s an actress who manages, without saying any thing, to just bring all that out. It was kind of unbelievable to watch.
Producer Emile Sherman: Lucy is critical to the story. She’s everything that Saroo wants in his present. But his journey pulls him away from her as he becomes more and more isolated by his search for home and by the past. Lucy of course wants to support and help him but his journey becomes all consuming and incredibly isolating. This pull between the present – his love for Lucy – and the past – his memories and pull to his birth mother – is at the centre of Saroo’s drama. Rooney brings huge tenderness to the role and the scenes of Saroo and Lucy meeting and falling in love are so alive and touching.
Co-star Dev Patel: Rooney is amazing. Her face is so watchable; you’ll forget your lines when you’re in front of her. She’s got this fierce quietness about her, and I’m like this big, dopey Labrador running around. So those two kinds of energies together were very interesting.
Jordan Hoffman, New York Daily News: This amazing true story with remarkable performances by Dev Patel, Rooney Mara, Nicole Kidman and newcomer Sunny Pawar has, like the title would suggest, a blend of brute force and elegance.
Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times: While the first half of “Lion” is a sprawling, often intense story of a lost little boy on the move and in search of his home, the second half is a much smaller but equally intense mystery and character study, with Saroo shutting out his parents and his supportive girlfriend (Rooney Mara, terrific as usual), losing his professional ambition and cloistering himself with his laptop and his charts and his notes, as pushes himself to remember, remember, remember ANYTHING that can take him one step closer to home.
Brian Truitt, USA Today: Mara is solid in portraying her part in Lucy and Saroo’s complicated romance, and Kidman is great as a mom who maintains a strong devotion to Saroo from their first meeting.