ReelTalk Movie Reviews  

New Reviews
Good Sam
Biggest Little Farm, ...
Hustle, The
Wine Country
Extremely Wicked, Sho...
Red Joan
Avengers: Endgame
Curse of La Llorona, ...
more movies...
New Features
Thank You, Doris Day
Hollywood Legends Encore
Cloris Leachman & Son Again!
more features...
ReelTalk Home Page
Contact Us
Advertise on ReelTalk

Listen to Movie Addict Headquarters on internet talk radio Add to iTunes

Buy a copy of Confessions of a Movie Addict

Main Page Movies Features Log In/Manage

Rate This Movie
 Above AverageAbove AverageAbove AverageAbove Average
 Below AverageBelow Average
Rated 3.17 stars
by 1686 people

ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Let There Be Lights
by Betty Jo Tucker

Aurora Borealis tells a touching story about love, loss, aging, family and everything else important in life. Joshua Jackson, Donald Sutherland, Louise Fletcher and Juliette Lewis are all absolutely terrific in this memorable -- almost spiritual -- coming-of-age drama that takes place in a wintry Minneapolis setting.

Jackson (The Skulls) becomes a major screen presence with his sensitive and charismatic performance here. He plays Duncan Shorter, a charming 25-year-old who canít seem to keep a job. Still suffering from the death of his father ten years ago, Duncan is reluctant to find out the truth about how this tragedy happened. He  hangs out with his friends, plays hockey with them once in awhile, and drifts aimlessly through each day.

During a visit to his grandparents at their senior residence, Duncan takes a handyman job there to be near his grandfather, Ronald Shorter (Donald Sutherland), who is rapidly deteriorating from Parkinsonís Disease. Sutherland (Pride & Prejudice) broke my heart with his poignant interpretation of Ronald. If it doesn't earn him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor this year, I'll be very surprised and disappointed.  

The two men form a close bond, not simply because they both miss Duncanís father but also because of the support they provide each other. Duncan takes Ronald outside ďto blow the stink off,Ē and Ronald becomes Duncanís matchmaker by encouraging his relationship with Kate (Juliette Lewis), a spunky health care worker assigned to assist Ronald at home. Ruth (Louise Fletcher), Duncanís grandmother, also welcomes his visits because, although she loves her husband dearly, heís a handful.

Failing mentally as well as physically, Ronald often talks enthusiastically about seeing the Northern Lights, technically called the aurora borealis, when he looks at the city of Minneapolis from his balcony at night. This electrical phenomenon involves colorful streamers of light in the sky above the northern magnetic pole. Everyone doubts Ronaldís accounts, believing this gorgeous sight only appears to people living in northern parts of Canada and Alaska. But Ronald, who knows his life is almost over, loves gazing at the ďlightsĒ he sees and pondering what they represent.

Meanwhile, Kate brings some welcome light and color into Duncanís life. Both have an off-beat sense of humor, and they are intensely attracted to each other. However, Kate is a free spirit who flies from town to town, whereas Duncan seems afraid of responsibility and of anything outside Minneapolis. How long can their love affair last? Because Jackson and Lewis share such sweet on-screen chemistry, we canít help hoping the characters they play will never be apart.

Aurora Borealis is one of those rare films where all the elements come together so well itís like a cinematic miracle. Directing, writing, cinematography, acting, background music, editing, etc. are first-rate. But itís the emotional impact, the way this movie makes you feel, that impressed me the most. You come to know and love the main characters despite their faults; in fact, you even want to hug each one of them. And, motivated by Ronald Shorter, you begin to wish for beautiful lights -- whether others see them or not -- to help you face the critical phases of your own personal journey.   

(Released by Regent Releasing and rated ďRĒ for language.)

© 2019 - ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Website designed by Dot Pitch Studios, LLC