Gigi Kriegsmann, age 12

Dev Patel, who plays the main character named Saroo, poses at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival. Credit: Flickr / Gordon Correll

 

The 2016 film Lion is about an unforgettable journey to a safe place, to a place you can once again call home. It is based on the true story of Saroo Brierly, a small boy living in India who gets lost after leaving home with his brother at night to help him find work.

In the film, Saroo’s older brother, Guddu asks Saroo to wait for him on a train platform while he looks for work. After hours of waiting, the five-year-old Saroo wakes up calling out his brother’s name, but there is no response. Saroo then settles into a stopped train and falls asleep there. When he wakes up, the train is moving.

Sixty million children in India go missing each year. Some of these children do find their way back home, but the ones that don’t end up homeless. Organizations like The Railway Children help keep kids safe from exploitation and in some cases help them find an orphanage on their journey home or to being adopted by a family.

In Lion, someone finally does find Saroo, but it is not his family. An Australian couple decides to adopt him. As an adult, Saroo struggles, knowing that he has two families in the world, one that he doesn’t even know but still remembers. The rest of the film is about his search for his biological family.