Aurora Borealis Movie Review

There is poetry to leaving home and starting life, but it only goes so far. The reason films about leaving home always seem to be liked is because we are always leaving one home or another. That line has been used before but the source escapes me. However, the feeling of leaving one home or another shouldn't be everyday business, nor should it be easy. That's where Aurora Borealis comes in.

Duncan (Joshua Jackson) has trouble with keeping jobs. He has a brother who cheats on his wife and a snide attitude. He hangs out with a gang of guys he's known for forever and a day and stiffens up when people bring up his hockey star past. All this changes when he takes a job at the apartment complex where his grandparents live. His grandpa, Ronald (Donald Sutherland), is losing his mind not so gracefully and often jokes about killing himself. His grandma, Ruth (Louise Fletcher), is just trying to keep him together. Then one day, Duncan meets Kate (Juliette Lewis), and all of a sudden life might have a bigger meaning outside of Minneapolis and his love for The Replacements.

There are times when the film is OK. They are few and far between but they are there and they don't really need to be explained. Someone might like Aurora Borealis and find it enjoyable enough, and we shouldn't really chastise them for it (too much, anyway). The basic fact is that Aurora Borealis is the same as films like Garden State and Lonesome Jim, but one that lacks any particular style. Garden State had some great shots and Lonesome Jim has its own depressing charm, and so does Aurora Borealis. The problem comes in the fact that everything that Aurora Borealis sets up comes horrendously easy. The writing doesn't just foreshadow things, it literally shows you where the film is going. We've seen movies like this a thousand times, so we know that things will end for the best (for the most part).

The entire cast is charming enough to not harness offense, but that's just about the best thing one can say. There is even a terribly set-up cameo by Replacements singer Paul Westerberg that typifies why rock-star cameos are a sign of a cheap product. With a soundtrack that tries to make the film seem way tougher than it is (leading with Bob Dylan's "Everything is Broken"), Borealis eventually just wears off without any specific thing to be remembered by. It's a subject so overdone and manipulated needs more than this to sustain an actual message, and ultimately the one that the film offers is something we've heard way to often. Now I feel like going home.

Cold in here.

Cast & Crew

Director : James C.E. Burke

Producer : Rick Bieber, Scott Disharoon, Sherri Saito, Jayne A. Larson


Comments

Aurora Borealis Rating

" Terrible "

Rating: R, 2006

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