Lion is the incredible, hard-to-believe-it's-true kind of story that grabs hold of your heartstrings from the first scene, and doesn't let go until after the credits roll. The emotional film recounts the journey about a five-year-old Indian boy who gets stuck on a train carrying him thousands of miles from his tiny home village. Saroo (played Sunny Pawar as a kid and Dev Patel as an adult) proves to be an uncommonly resilient and resourceful child, managing to survive on the streets of Kolkata — until, one day, a kind Australian couple (Nicole Kidman and David Wenham) adopts him. He grows up happily enjoying his privileged life in Australia — but around age 25 becomes haunted by his unknown roots — where he came from, his family, and where they are now. Saroo uses Google Earth to start exploring the country he left, searching for his hometown and his family.
While Saroo's inner life is in upheaval, he falls in love with a fellow student at the hospitality school he attends. Lucy (Rooney Mara) refuses to be shut out of Saroo's mission, even as it borders on obsession. She is his pillar of strength, his confidante, and his light. We believe in their deep bond, in part because of the amazing chemistry between Mara and Patel. The film is not a romance, but there is certainly a beautiful love story within it.
To get an idea of the actors' onscreen interactions, watch this clip of one of Saroo and Lucy's very first encounters — flirty and carefree. Lion hits theaters on Nov. 25.