Have you seen Lion? It’s a heart-rending biographical drama adapted from the non-fiction book, A Long Way Home. Lion premiered last fall at the Toronto Film Festival, is PG-13, and has an 8.1 IMDb rating. If you’ve been adopted or have adopted…if you’re a foster parent or have grown up in an orphanage, Lion will break your heart, but it might also help heal some of the pain that haunts most people who’ve grown up without knowing their biological parents. The story begins back in 1986, where little five-year-old “Saroo,” lives in Khandwa, India with his mother, older brother, and younger sister. Saroo and his brother steal coal from trains to trade for food, but one night Saroo is so tired that he falls asleep at the train station rather than helping his brother. Through a series of misadventures, Saroo ends up lost on the streets of Calcutta, many hundreds of miles from home. In fact, he doesn’t know the name of his hometown…or even his full name! He survives many frightening episodes before a kindly man helps him get to an orphanage, where he learns some English and is later adopted by a couple in Hobart, Tasmania. The story picks up again nearly 25 years later, when Saroo, as a young adult, sets out in search of his lost family. Although I wouldn’t recommend the movie for children (at least until you’ve viewed it first), it is a very moving account that brought out a visceral response in me…I felt the horror of lostness, the fear of strange adults, the hunger, the loneliness, the pain…the relief…the deep, lasting grief. I came away feeling like I’d experienced a tiny taste of what it might be like for the millions of children abroad—and at home—who’ve grown up without the loving support of their parents. I’ll never meet someone who has been orphaned now without feeling more compassionate toward them. It’s one of those movies that has a lasting impact.
“Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy“
(Psalm 82:3).“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this,
To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction,
and to keep himself unspotted from the world” (James 1:27).
(The photos are a combination of two real pictures of Saroo as shown at the end of the film, plus images from the movie, Lion.)