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Duncan is a depressed 20-something who has just lost another job. He makes extra money by letting out his flat for his brother's romantic trysts, but when a job comes up as a caretaker in his grandparent's building he takes it. His grandfather has Parkinson's Disease and he and his wife have a caregiver whom Duncan finds compellingly upbeat. As they begin a tentative romance, and Duncan spends more time with his grandparents, he begins to face his feelings about the early loss of his father. A moving drama, set in a frigid Minnesota landscape. Written by
While at the Tri Be Ca Film Festival last week, I luckily happened into a screening of "Aurora Borealis" and left the theatre in tears and awe by the sheer range of humanity expressed in this film. When the movie ended I was upset because I wanted to keep following the life of Duncan. His character had captivated me with his honesty, innocence and good hearted approach to the world. The main character could be any one of us, lost in this world, looking for some meaning in our lives. A good soul, but without direction since his dad died mysteriously ten years earlier and no mother in the picture, Josh Jackson plays a young man trying to find himself as he floats from job to job until finds work in his grandparents' apartment building as an assistant to the super. There he befriends the residents of this "retirement" home and finds himself deeply entwined with the life struggle of his ailing, Alzheimer's afflicted grandfather, played brilliantly by Donald Sutherland. Louise Fletcher is perfect as the physically healthy, level headed, yet frustrated spouse to Sutherland's ornery and belligerent senior citizen. Every scene with Sutherland is exquisite and sad, yet beautiful, as he forces us to face our own mortality and that of our aging parents and grandparents. Jackson's character is seen as a failure by his financially successful, but fidelity-challenged brother and by his boyhood buddies with the usual jobs of twenty-somethings. Duncan shines, however, as he reluctantly, yet dutifully and lovingly cares for his needy grandfather all the while falling for his grandfather's nurse, played sweetly by Juliet Lewis. The direction and photography are beautiful with wonderful shots of Minneapolis/St. Paul and the film moves with a perfect pace. The score is incredible throughout, but the opening Bob Dylan song was amazing and is still playing in my head as an accompaniment in my life.
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