Remember the story of the lost boy who found his way home—across continents and decades—because of Google Earth?
That is the stranger-than-fiction story of Saroo Brierley, who at age five wandered onto a train that jettisoned him nearly a thousand miles from his humble Indian village, to the bustling streets and dangerous slums of Calcutta. After weeks scraping by as a beggar, Saroo was saved by an orphanage that placed him with a married couple in Australia. There, he was raised in safety and luxury previously unimaginable to him, but with no way to reconnect to the mother and siblings her left behind. However, all that changed 25 years later when Google Earth offered the tools to map his accidental train trek in a way previously unimaginable. His journey—first unveiled in the book A Long Way Home—is brought to the theaters with Lion. But it’s a rocky transition from life to page to screen.
Sure, on the surface this might seem exactly the kind of «based on true events» tale that filmmakers go gaga for. It’s a real story of human perseverance, loyalty and love conquering all, offering a plucky child to root for, drama sure to draw in an acclaimed cast, and a finale with a real and wondrous emotional wallop. But then there’s the whole Google Earth bit, a search that is depicted accurately as an angry young man futzing over satellite images with frustrated mouse-pad swipes. It makes for a pivotal section that is anything but cinematic. And the plotting lurches, bound by reality, making for a muddled though moving affair.
The screenplay by Luke Davies begins with young Saroo (Sunny Pawar, an arrestingly natural onscreen presence) playing and working with his adolescent brother. Together, they snatch coal from a rumbling train car, leaping off as the guards and an fast-approaching bridge threaten to snare them. After trading the stolen coal for sandwich bags of milk , the brothers run barefoot to the shack where their mother looks after their baby sister. To call there’s a simple life is an understatement. They live in abject poverty, sleeping on dirt and eating whatever can be scrounged. But Saroo is loved by his warm mother and his enthusiastic brother. He wants for nothing, save the occasional sweet. Then comes the night on the train where the tiny boy falls asleep onboard, waking into a terrible new world where he doesn’t speak the language and has no idea how to get home.
Lion spares audiences the grimmest of possibilities for homeless kids on these streets, as Saroo was spared them. But hints are given by scenes of other children being snatched by strange men, a skeevy gentleman with suspicious promises, and the off-screen sounds of late-night beatings of «bad» children in the orphanage. Director Garth Davis (Top of the Lake) rejects relishing in the human misery to be found in such poverty, focusing instead on Saroo’s journey, which transports this wide-eyed boy with tender brown eyes to the ease of Australia, where the the Brierleys (Nicole Kidman and David Wenham) are overjoyed to meet their new son. This first half of the film is thoughtful, warm, yet spike with tension that’s released as soon as we see Kidman’s inviting smile shine upon the darling boy. But the second half, things get sloppy.
Dev Patel—surprisingly dashing with a rough and tumble surfer look—burst out of the Pacific and onto the scene as grown Saroo. A source of pride to his parents, he’s on a good career track, and got a lovely American girlfriend (Rooney Mara). But as a training program puts him in contact with Indians more in touch with their heritage and roots, Saroo suffers pangs of guilt over losing his own.
Patel does admirably with the internal struggle Saroo undergoes, transforming him from an outgoing charmer to a withdrawn recluse as the guilt of losing his first family and shame of hiding his search from his adoptive family eats away at him. Davis makes this conflict external by winding the boy’s memories of his brother full-bodied into his life and home, like a friendly yet unrelenting ghost. But the script chokes off this arc, plunking Saroo again and again in front of a map with a distraught expression. The relationship development between he and his girlfriend and he and his adoptive mother is given short shrift, dulling the impact of both threads’ big emotional moments. Despite this, Kidman delivers a monologue rich with love but spiked with real talk in one of the film’s most powerful scenes. But then all these characters fall away as Saroo makes that journey home alone.
Authentically awkward, Saroo stumbles through the dirt paths he remembers, seeking simply for his mother by repeating her name again and again. Then, there’s color, joy, reunion and tears, both those onscreen and those sure-to-be shed in the audience. Though a clunky ride that includes stops that are far from scenic, Lion is an emotional rollercoaster, delivering exhilarating highs and dizzying lows, but with a conclusion that is sure to make hearts sing.
Ever since leaving Scientology, Leah Remini has been one of the few former members brave enough to speak out about the dangers of the religious system, which has become extremely popular with the Hollywood set over the last few decades. Scientology took a major hit when HBO’s Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief documentary (Alex Gibney’s two-hour exposé) premiered last year, and now Leah is doubling down on the interest surrounding the pseudo-religion with a new docuseries on A&E. During an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Wednesday, the talk-show host told Leah she found the series «bold, brave, and disturbing,» which Leah expected. «That’s what made me want to do it,» she said. «There are repercussions to speaking out, and that’s why I said, ‘OK, I can’t sit back.'» From standing up against the church’s bullying to being harassed and followed since leaving, watch her enlightening interview above.
— Always slap your turkey at least once. You can slap it again later it need be.
— Canned cranberry sauce is immediately outlawed.
— Stuffing should be made of week-old Wonder Bread. If you want to make some sort of cornbread based side dish with cranberries and dates and carrots or whatever, that’s cool. But it’s not stuffing.
-Also not stuffing? «Dressing.» «Dressing» is the stuff that goes on your salad (if your parents hate you enough that they make you eat salad on Thanksgiving). «Stuffing» is the white-bread-based dish that used to be stuffed into a turkey and which God gave us to make up for not being able to fly. Each dish on the table needs a different name. Otherwise chaos ensues.
— Real whip cream > Reddi Wip > Cool Whip.
— Marshmallows on sweet potatoes ruins both. Unless you’re making s’mores or Rice Krispy treats, marshmallows should never, ever be cooked. It ruins the structural integrity, and turns them into a sticky, gross mess. Marshmallows belong only in the lemon Jello mold with pineapple and cream cheese where the chilled Jello gently cups the marshmallow in its original form.
— Gravy is bad (post to follow so don’t waste all of your energy destroying the comment section here).
— Actually don’t slap your turkey because we’re done with turkey as the main dish. Turkey is fine, or whatever, but it goes against the ethos of the holiday. Do we have just one giant plate of mashed potatoes? No, we have six different kinds of side dished because this is supposed to be a goddamn feast. So no more turkey. You can have a turkey representation via a roasted turkey breast or leg, but we’re going to throw in some prime rib too. And maybe a nice fish plate. And made a pork tenderloin, but not a ham because ham is the worst. It’s your holiday, you run with it. Just so long as I don’t see a single can of cranberries because so help me God, I will flip my lid.
Happy Thanksgiving, people.
There are 4,000 basketball games to care about today, starting with the Battle 4 Atlantis at noon. Then you get to lay around and watch games all day long while your wife cooks and cleans. Enjoy it, you’ve earned the rest and turkey and gravy and potatoes and green bean casserole and sleep. Don’t forget, tonight’s the biggest bar night of the year. Get drunk.
The Lakers Get Above .500 In November Vine of the Week
Breakfast Nachos Of The YEAR!
- Sweeten your palate with easy cast iron desserts — Frugal Foodie Mama
- This pumpkin pie will please every type of eater — Knead to Cook
- Give stuffing a boost of flavor with a surprise ingredient — Mandy’s Recipe Box
- Your family will go nuts over these vegan side dishes — Simply Quinoa
- Use your Turkey Day leftovers to make this delicious dish — Heather’s Dish
- Start the festivities bright and early with caramel apple muffins — My Life Blogged
- How to put a healthy spin on green bean casserole — Alida’s Kitchen
- This cranberry sauce is for adults only! — Coconut and Lime
Ellen DeGeneres was honored at the Presidential Medal of Freedom Ceremony in Washington DC, on Tuesday, but the special moment almost didn’t happen. Although many of us would recognize the TV host from a mile away, surprisingly not everyone in the White House knows who Ellen is. The 58-year-old comedian, who was one of the 21 recipients this year, revealed on Instagram that she forgot her ID and that the White House wasn’t letting her through. «They haven’t let me in to the White House yet because I forgot my ID. #NotJoking #PresidentialMedalOfFreedom,» she wrote alongside a photo of herself sitting outside on a wooden bench. Thankfully, she ended up making it inside and posted a clip of her and the other honorees doing the Mannequin Challenge as proof. «I’m in,» she confirmed.
Once inside, Ellen couldn’t help but get a little teary-eyed as she was presented with a medal by President Barack Obama. Among the guests were Michael Jordan, Bruce Springsteen, Diana Ross, Tom Hanks, and Robert De Niro. The Medal of Freedom is awarded to individuals who have made «especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.» Oddly enough, it’s not the first time Ellen has gotten emotional around Barack. Earlier this year, the host fought back tears as the president praised her for all that she’s done for the gay community.
Try not to argue about politics this Thanksgiving
I know it’s coming for most of you. There’s going to be that one relative that likes his/her ‘go time’ when it comes to politics. He/she is like a rocket that just needs lit. One little comment and this relative is going off on a tangent for hours. Don’t get sucked in. You deserve a day off from Facebook, especially face-to-face Facebook. Try to enjoy a day with the family without strangling one another. I know, it’s going to happen. We’ll be waiting on the police reports out of Florida and Ohio. We’ll be waiting on the Thanksgiving fight videos posted on YouTube. I know you’re going to want to accuse your uncle of being a racist. I know you’ll want to accuse your niece or nephew of being a snowflake. This is an unprecedented time for Thanksgiving. No matter what I say, there will be thousands of family brawls across this great country. It’s going to be ugly. I’ll be here secretly waiting for your fight videos. Send word.
Numbers from :
Fort Wayne gives the Summit League its second win against a top-5 opponent in 53 games. Oral Roberts has the other, 10 years ago at Kansas.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 23, 2016
This Way Out®:
— Jordan (@SilkySef) November 23, 2016
Nikki Reed and Ian Somerhalder have been full of adorable appearances lately, and their latest one is no exception. The couple, who tied the knot in a stunning ceremony in April 2015, was spotted holding hands while taking a walk around Beverly Hills, CA, on Monday. Nikki, who looked gorgeous in jeans and a sweater, flashed a small smile while enjoying the afternoon with the Vampire Diaries actor. In recent months, they attended the EMA Awards in LA, a creative influencer event in NYC, and a charity event in Dallas. Ian also recently gushed to Modern Luxury that he and Nikki will have «amazing children» one day. You got that right, Ian.
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