Time Out says
Dev Patel impresses in this 'Slumdog'-like true tale of an Indian boy adopted by a Tasmanian couple
Nothing quite tugs the heartstrings like a lost child. When, in 1986, five-year-old Saroo (Sunny Pawar) gets on the wrong train at a station in Buhanpur, Northern India, he finds himself 1,600km from home. Alone on the streets of Kolkata, he’s stalked by creepy adults and ends up in a Dickensian government orphanage. Unable to explain where he’s from, he’s declared a lost child and adopted by Sue and John Brierley (Nicole Kidman and David Wenham), who take him to Tasmania. Years later the adult Saroo (Dev Patel) studies hotel management and romances American student Lucy (Rooney Mara), but is haunted by the vague memories of his mother and siblings.
Saroo Brierley’s autobiography A Long Way Home has been adapted into an effective weepie by screenwriter Luke Davies, and poetically directed by Garth Davis (Top of the Lake). Newcomer Pawar lives up to his name as the young Saroo, whose intelligence and charm endear him to his Australian adoptive parents and take him from the grime and suffering of India into the privilege and wide open spaces of Hobart. The film’s first third is indeed far stronger than the rest of the film, which suffers from an over-elongated second act as Saroo begins secretly poring over Google Earth and letting the relationship with his parents and Lucy go to seed. A cathartic scene between Kidman and Patel is generating Oscar buzz but, like Saroo’s epic train ride, the film takes way too long to reach its destination.
Cast and crew