I’ve had Aurora Borealis checked out from Netflix for about a week, and finally last night we decided to watch it. It’s not that I dreaded watching it, it’s just attention spans are so low when it comes to tackling a movie. I spend so much time bouncing from one class to another, from one customer to another, and from one TV show to another, that it’s a little daunting to make a two-hour commitment to a movie. As I type this, I realize how truly unfortunate that is, because I absolutely love movies, and I need to work through this attention deficit.
Anyways, so we sat down to watch Aurora Borealis – a movie starring Joshua Jackson (Fringe, Dawson’s Creek) as Duncan, and Jack Bauer’s father, Donald Sutherland (A Time to Kill) as his grandfather, Ronald. It’s set near Minneapolis, sometime around present-day. Duncan’s father died of a heart attack when he was about 15, and he ended up raising himself after that point. He is one of those types that can’t seem to keep a job. When his grandparents move closer to the city, he visits them and stumbles on an opportunity to work as a handyman in their senior citizen’s apartment building. By virtue of this new job, he becomes closer to his grandfather, who is suffering from Parkinson’s and worsening dementia. Duncan meets Ronald’s nurse, Kate (Juliette Lewis), and they fall in love. Duncan exposes her to small-town charm, loyalty to the Vikings, and snow, and Kate tries to bring him out of his shell and motivate him to find a calling and explore the world.
My favorite scenes of the movie are undoubtedly the ones between Ronald and Duncan. He comes alive because of the relationship that he forms with his grandson. Donald Sutherland does such a superb job with this character. I really got to see his fight despite the harrowing effects of dementia and Parkinson’s on his identity. It was sad at times, but the grandson bond really carried the movie. It’s unusual for people in their 20s and 30s to put much weight into their grandparents. When I hear people talk about them, it’s either in utmost annoyance or in an all-around apathy. But I love my grandparents; I don’t get to see them as much as I used to (opposite coasts), but I make it a point to visit them at least a couple times a year. I guess what I’m saying is that I appreciate Duncan’s loyalty to his grandparents. I’m glad that was the emphasis of the movie. I really should call my grandparents more.
All in all, the story and acting made this movie a gem. There weren’t really any cinematographic flights of fancy, but the relationships within the film and the realism of it all leads me to give it 4.2 out of 5 “beats.” :o) As for the name of the movie, well you’ll just have to watch it!