Parents' Guide to


By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Great performances in emotional, intense biographical drama.

Movie PG-13 2016 129 minutes
Lion Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 12 parent reviews

age 18+

Excellent but harrowing movie

This is an amazing movie. Gripping and beautifully made. But it's incredibly disturbing in parts, and there's no way I'd show it to a child or teenager. There is a scary scene where children are snatched while sleeping rough, and another where a strange man gets into bed with 5-year-old Saroo and starts stroking him. The abuse in the orphanage is mainly implied but utterly horrific, including a small boy being taken from his bed in the night and given to a man who is told to have him back before the morning. Also disturbing is the way that countless adults, including those in authority, turn a blind eye while children are abducted or abused. This is a brilliant film, but I found it haunting and harrowing. Not suitable for children.

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much sex
1 person found this helpful.
age 11+

Movie good/Book better

This movie is based on a true story found in a book, "A Long Way Home," which I found to be riveting. The movie, while also good, sometimes has difficulty bringing all of Saroo's experiences to life as he describes them in his book. The main cautions for parents in this movie from my perspective are some intense scenes of children in peril and implied premarital sex(Saroo is shown in bed with his girlfriend). Also, the scenes in India are primarily spoken in the Hindi language, with English subtitles. That was no problem for me since I am a foreign film fan, but children younger than 11 might struggle to be able to read the subtitles and understand the dialogue.
1 person found this helpful.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (12):
Kids say (36):

Be prepared to cry -- a lot -- at this wonderfully cast tearjerker about a man who searched for his birth family across a continent, with only decades-old memories to guide him. Director Garth Davis' adaptation of Brierley's memoir starts off strong, with the charming, big-eyed Pawar playing adorable young Saroo. Audiences will audibly gasp at the circumstances that lead to his separation from his family, and there will be (many) tears as he narrowly escapes the grips of people who would surely do him harm. Once Saroo is an adult, Patel takes over as a well-adjusted adoptive son who's flourished in his new family and country but then becomes obsessed with finding out where he's from and what happened to the family who must have assumed he was gone forever.

Although the beginning and the end of Lion are emotional and compelling, there's a period in the middle of the second act when all Saroo seems to do is hang out in front of his computer, searching countless train stations within a 1,000-mile radius of Calcutta. He also pushes away the people who love him -- most frustratingly, his devoted girlfriend (played beautifully by Mara). This is definitely the movie's low point, and it lasts a bit too long, but eventually everything picks up again. Wenham has little to do, but Kidman gives a fantastic supporting performance as the mother of two adopted Indian sons, one of whom (Saroo's brother) has special needs. Without completely spoiling the ending, let's just say you can expect the tears to flow freely as you witness Saroo's complicated joy, relief, and sadness at the end of his long journey.

Movie Details

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