Lion (2016 Film)

Reception

Box office

Lion grossed $51 million in the United States and Canada and $88.3 million in other countries for a worldwide total of $140.1 million, against a production budget of $12 million.[3]

In its limited opening weekend in the United States and Canada, the film made $123,360 from four theaters (an average of $30,840, the highest of the weekend).[27] On the weekend of 17–19 March 2017, Lion crossed the $50 million mark at the North American box-office, becoming the fifth 2016 film among the Academy Award for Best Picture nominees to surpass this threshold.[28]

In Australia, it opened at number one with $3.18 million, the biggest opening ever for an Australian indie film, and the fifth biggest debut for an Australian film overall.[29] It grossed $22.7 million in five weeks,[30] and eventually grossed $27.729 million as of 13 March 2017, becoming the sixth highest-grossing Australian film ever at the domestic box office.[31]

Critical response

Lion received generally positive reviews, with the performances of Patel and Kidman being praised.[32][33] On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, it has an approval rating of 84% based on 263 reviews, with a weighted average rating of 7.27/10. The critical consensus reads, "Lion's undeniably uplifting story and talented cast make it a moving journey that transcends the typical cliches of its genre."[34] On Metacritic the film has a normalized score of 69 out of 100, based on 45 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[35] PostTrak reported that 92% of audience members gave the film a rating of either "excellent" or "very good".[27]

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Brian Truitt of USA Today wrote: "The finale is manipulative in every way, squeezing out the emotions of the audience. But Lion's well-plotted narrative and thoughtful characters suck you in so much that the journey there is totally worth it".[36] Novelist and critic Salman Rushdie thought highly of the film stating that while he often lacked interest in films nominated for an Oscar, this year he rooted for Lion, believing that "I would like it to win in every category it's nominated for and in most of the categories it isn't nominated for as well." Noting that he wept "unstoppably" while viewing the film, Rushdie said that he is "frequently suspicious of Western films set in contemporary India, and so one of the things that most impressed me about Lion was the authenticity and truth and unsparing realism of its Indian first half. Every moment of the little boy's journey rings true – not an instant of exoticism – and as a result his plight touches us all. Greig Fraser's cinematography portrays the beauty of the country, both honestly and exquisitely [...] Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman, in the film's Australian second half, give wonderful performances too."[37]

Some critics mentioned that parts of the film move along at a slow pace. For example, Anthony Lane of The New Yorker wrote: "... based on a true story; though wrenching, there is barely enough of it to fill the dramatic space, and the second half is a slow and muted affair after the Dickensian punch of the first."[38]

Accolades

Lion received six Oscar nominations at the 89th Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Patel), Best Supporting Actress (Kidman) and Best Adapted Screenplay, but did not win in any of the categories. It did win two BAFTA Awards, however, for Best Supporting Actor (Patel) and Best Adapted Screenplay. At Australia's 7th AACTA Awards, it won twelve awards, in all of the categories it was nominated in.[39]


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