By Angie Raphael

I am calling it extremely early, but Lion will certainly be one of the best films of 2017. This bittersweet and emotional roller-coaster will have you gripped from the outset and will probably leave you in tears by the end. It is such an important film too, raising awareness about the plight of lost children in India, as well as encouraging further discussions about adoption in Australia. Adapted by screenwriter Luke Davies from Saroo Brierley's autobiographical account, Lion opens with five-year-old Saroo (Sunny Pawar) who gets lost in India thousands of kilometres from home. He faces many scary obstacles before being adopted by Australian couple Sue (Nicole Kidman) and John Brierley (David Wenham). Decades later, Saroo (Dev Patel) searches for his Indian family.

Adorable young Pawar has never acted before but he carries almost the first half of the film and gives one of the most engrossing performances ever by a child. Kidman, who has two adopted children of her own, has spoken publicly about her connection to the story and it shows on screen. Meanwhile, Patel's Aussie accent is almost as good as Kate Winslet's turn in The Dressmaker. Director Garth Davis has also done a wonderful job of capturing India's vast terrain and bustling city life, in stark contrast to Tasmania's coastal beauty. Lion runs for about two hours but the time flies by and this amazing true story will remain in your thoughts long after the film is finished.