Dev Patel in Lion.

A young Indian boy gets lost in a train station and loses his mother in Lion, an uplifting film based on a true story from director Garth Davis.

After a long odyssey through orphanages and abuse, Saroo winds up in Australia, adopted by new parents (Nicole Kidman and David Wenham). After 25 years, Saroo (played as an adult by Dev Patel) decides it’s time to find his birth mother. How does he do it in the modern world? Google Earth! (The film is a nice commercial for that little platform.)

Patel is outstanding as Saroo, especially when his personal conflict about heritage comes to the forefront. Rooney Mara is also good as his supportive girlfriend, one of the more down-to-earth characters she’s played in recent years. The performance most people will talk about in this film, however, is that of Kidman, who puts together some of the most powerful work of her career.

The story seems farfetched, but it’s the real deal, as evidenced by real footage of Saroo and his moms at film’s end.

In a year that had a lot of great movies that delved into darkness, it’s nice to have this one. It makes you feel good.

Lion is now playing at the Century Theatres at The River (71800 Highway 111, Palm Desert; 760-836-1940); and the Regal Rancho Mirage Stadium 16 (72777 Dinah Shore Drive, Rancho Mirage; 844-462-7342).