Tuesday, 17 January 2017

January 19

Lion has already won several awards and is sure to be a highly popular film. Perhaps less in the spotlight is the wonderful animation Moana - still time in the school holidays to take the kids, or even take yourselves without kids!
Director: Garth Davis
Length: 118 min

©Transmission - Pawar shines on the screen in this true story
of one man's determination to find his home
Saroo (Sunny Pawar) is only five years old when he gets separated from his brother Guddu and accidentally taken by train across India to Kolkata. From there he is rescued by a welfare agency and ultimately adopted to an Aussie couple (the Brierleys, played by Nicole Kidman and David Wenham) in Tasmania. 25 years later, and now played by Dev Patel, Saroo is determined to track down his birth family. Encouraged by his girlfriend (Rooney Mara), he uses the power of Google Earth along with his recollections to help him find his way back. 
Both the child and adult actors playing Saroo are perfect in their roles. This is not to say the film is perfect, although the first half is so beautiful and moving it comes close to perfection. For me the one weakness in Lion is the casting of Kidman and Wenham  - something didn't totally gel for me, and the denouement tended to wander a little into schmaltz territory. Despite this, I found it a deeply moving and totally absorbing film, and the fact that it is based upon a true story only adds to its appeal.

4 - Wholeheartedly recommended

Director: 4 directors from Disney studios
Length: 107 min

© Disney - strong story-telling and exquisite animation
Fortunately, I've finally caught up with this animation that released a couple of weeks ago. It's sometimes hard convincing adults to go see animated films. But when they are as breathtakingly entertaining as this one (not to mention fascinating content-wise), it should be a no brainer. Moana is set in Hawaii, and is the tale of the spirited daughter of the local chief. She has always wanted to go to sea, but it is forbidden by the tribe. But she is the one chosen by the sea to return a mystical relic to a goddess, and to do so she must talk demi-God Maui into accompanying her on her quest. The plot makes full use of Hawaiian mythology and customs, is rich in uplifting and well-crafted songs, uses the Polynesian tattoos in a way that is exceptionally imaginative and creative, and above all has a strong female role model front and centre. Though at odd moments it indulges in a bit of Disney-esque tear-jerking, it is a totally rewarding cinematic experience. 

4 - Wholeheartedly recommended!

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