Considering the high emotions involved in the real-life story on which Lion is based, it’s even more remarkable that the movie proceeds with as much tact as it does. Adopted when he was a small boy by a Tasmanian couple (Nicole Kidman and David Wenham), Indian-born Saroo (Dev Patel) has grown into a fully assimilated, capitalist-minded young adult. Yet when an acquaintance introduces him to Google Earth, which offers the possibility of locating the childhood village he can only vaguely remember, he tumbles back into the reality of his impoverished past. The first third of Lion takes place during Saroo’s early years (where he is played as an indefatigable urchin by Sunny Pawar). On a scavenging trip with his older brother (Abhishek Bharate), Saroo is separated and gets stuck on a train that takes him to faraway Calcutta. After miraculously surviving on his own for weeks, he’s taken in by an orphanage and eventually adopted after all attempts to find his family fail. Those who disliked Slumdog Millionaire will probably not care for this either, but I appreciated the space it allows for both the joy and despair of childhood in such a place. Director Garth Davis, working from the memoir A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley, brings a visual elegance that is beauteous without becoming a travelogue and attentive to destitution without fetishizing it. All in all, this is delicate handling of material that easily could have been turned into feel-good slop.