For My Consideration: Lion and La La Land
It's been a rough few weeks for me, life has been hectic. I've been going through a lot of changes personally and professionally, but I made a commitment and seeing movies bring me joy so I saw some movies. Joy, well, that was more complicated. The Oscars race is a strange combination of merit, skill, artistry, marketing, and PR. I've been attempting to watch every Oscar nominee for many years and inevitably, there comes a point where I get to the "front runner" and I think...REALLY?
Nonetheless, I persevere and delude myself that there is no way that film will win Best Picture despite the hype and then feel uncontrollable rage as smug producers of trite and generic films take home the award over true showings of mastery. That obviously won't be the case this year though...right?
Lion is one of those films that is so emotionally draining that you need a cupcake, a hug, and a nap after seeing it, but it is so worth it. The story is of a spirited young boy, Saroo, in a poor but loving family in India, who has a close relationship with his older brother Guddu. Saroo follows his brother to a night job and falls asleep. He awakes disoriented and looks for his brother on an empty train which begins to travel with him on it. Saroo suddenly finds himself 930 miles across India, alone and not speaking the language of the people in the area. Saroo is sent to an orphanage while they search for his family, who are poor and illiterate and in a remote part of the country, so are difficult find. Eventually, Saroo is adopted by a couple in Australia and some years pass before he remembers this early trauma and begins to search for his mother. Without much knowledge of the location or even the real name of the town he is from, he uses the brand new Google Earth and after a long grueling search that puts a strain on his personal and professional life, he finds his birth mother.
There were multiple times during this movie when I would stop crying only to be shocked to hear the packed audience crying along with me. The young actor who plays young Saroo, Sunny Pawar, is so charismatic and lovable, I wanted to adopt him and I don't even like children. However, Lion wasn't a sad movie, it was multi-faceted. It showed, convincingly, the conflicting feelings of loving your adopted family but needing to know your real family. It also portrayed how you can never truly escape your past and you will always have to deal with it. While Saroo, finding his birth mother may seem like a Disney ending, it is more complex and therefore more satisfying.
If you enjoy films based on true life about triumph and family then I highly recommend that you see Lion.
La La Land
Fuck this movie. It's probably going win Best Picture*.
*I live-tweeted it so if you want to see my thoughts, you'll have to go here. I refuse to relive this movie.