Release Date: September 15th, 2006 by Regent Releasing/Here! Films.
The Cast: Joshua Jackson, Donald Sutherland, Louise Fletcher, Juliette Lewis, Steven Pasquale, Zack Ward and Timm Sharp, Mark Andrada, Krista Bridges, John Kapelos, Tatum Knight, Tyler Labine.
Directed by James C.E. Burke.
BASIC PREMISE: After the death of his father, Duncan (Jackson) takes care of his grandfather, Ronald (Sutherland), while flirting with Kate (Lewis), Donald’s home nurse.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Aurora Borealis boasts an outstanding performance by Donald Sutherland. He perfectly nails his role as Ronald, a sick elderly man whose wife (Fletcher) gets fed up with his stubbornness. So, his grandson, Duncan, spends time with him and meets his beautiful nurse, Kate, played by the radiant Juliette Lewis. What makes this so engaging is that it’s a character driven film with interesting, believable and complex characters. Each character is likeable in his/her own way—there are no real bad guys here. From the start, Duncan and Kate seem made for each other since they’re both lonely and single in this small Minnesota town. But, gradually, they drift apart because Duncan refuses to let go of being physically close to his family, which he depends on. This dependence threatens their relationship, though. Director James C.E. Burke shows skill with exquisite cinematography, such as a simply beautiful scene where Duncan and Kate cuddle in the backseat of a car with the point of view from the outside as snow gradually builds up on the car window. The smart, well-written script by Brent Boyd allows for plenty of romantic chemistry. Boyd lets every scenes flow naturally and smoothly. Forgivably, A few slow-paced scenes drag a bit and when the plot gets more dramatic, it feels somewhat contrived and clichéd, especially in the predictable third act.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: The scenes between Duncan and Ronald as well as Duncan and Kate are full of tender, heartfelt moments. Throughout the film, Ronald and Kate help Duncan to grow up which, in practical terms, means that he must become independent and find a purpose to his life. His journey from an adult to a “grown-up” isn’t easy for him, but it’s an important step that he must take in order to avoid a mid-life crisis. Kate is like an angel, which is quite an uplifting observation.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Occasionally drags with some contrivances.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 2
IN A NUTSHELL: Heartfelt with exquisite cinematography. A few scenes drag and seem a bit contrived, but it’s more than compensated by superb performances by Juliette Lewis and Donald Sutherland.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)
The "A" Menu