Duncan (Joshua Jackson), a depressed twentysomething living in a rundown section of Minneapolis, has just lost another job. He has another source of income, letting his brother use his apartment for extramarital trysts. On a rare visit to… More Duncan (Joshua Jackson), a depressed twentysomething living in a rundown section of Minneapolis, has just lost another job. He has another source of income, letting his brother use his apartment for extramarital trysts. On a rare visit to his grandparents, Ronald (Donald Sutherland) and Ruth (Louise Fletcher), Duncan meets Kate (Juliette Lewis), Ronald's spirited home health-care worker. Later, when Duncan learns that there's an opening for a handyman in the building, he takes the job. He begins to spend more time with his grandparents, hanging out with Ronald, who, among his many health problems, suffers from Parkinson's disease. He also has occasion to see Kate, and the two cautiously begin a romantic relationship. Kate is "one of those people," as Duncan puts it, who moved to Minneapolis because of the Replacements. Unlike Duncan, who has never left Minneapolis, Kate has never stayed in any one place for too long. She's anxious to get out and explore the world, while Duncan seems immobilized. Yet they connect, if only for a time. As Duncan reconnects with his grandparents and grows more intimate with Kate, he begins to deal with his grief over the sudden death of his father. Meanwhile, with his health deteriorating, Ronald begins to think of ending his life, and turns to his grandson for help. Aurora Borealis was directed by James Burke from an original screenplay by Brent Boyd. The film had its world premiere at the 2005 Tribeca Film Festival.
Consensus: Deeply reminiscent of other, better films, Aurora Borealis nonetheless succeeds on the strength of winning performances from Sutherland and Jackson.