Aurora Borealis (2006) - Rotten Tomatoes

Aurora Borealis (2006)



Critic Consensus: Deeply reminiscent of other, better films, Aurora Borealis nonetheless succeeds on the strength of winning performances from Sutherland and Jackson.

Aurora Borealis Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

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.more
Rating: R (for language)
Genre: Drama
Directed By: ,
Written By: Brent Boyd
In Theaters:
On DVD: Apr 3, 2007
Regent Releasing - Official Site


Joshua Jackson
as Duncan Shorter
Donald Sutherland
as Ronald Shorter
Louise Fletcher
as Ruth Shorter
Zack Ward
as Lindstrom
Jim Feather
as Mr. Gunderson
Welcome Ngozi
as Hamit Arfaya
Joyce Campion
as Mrs. Hollerich
Bryan Hatt
as Hardware Employee
Niamh Wilson
as Isabelle
George Cassey
as Paul Westerberg
Timm Sharp
as Hacksetter
Tatum Knight
as Bethany
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Aurora Borealis

Critic Reviews for Aurora Borealis

All Critics (41) | Top Critics (15)

Seems designed to reward Jackson with his biggest adult part to date, though it doesn't give the Vancouver, B.C., native a lot to work with.

Full Review… | October 6, 2006
Seattle Times
Top Critic

Good Will Hunting but in the Midwest and minus the tortured math genius, psychological breakthroughs, and convincing local color.

Full Review… | October 6, 2006
Boston Globe
Top Critic

Every bromide, plot twist and stock character arrives right on time and, to give director James Burke his due, function as well as they ever have.

Full Review… | September 29, 2006
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

A sensitive and touching story about a distressed family and the emotional glue that holds it together.

September 28, 2006
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

Most successful in capturing the emotional elements of its story, the film relies on its excellent cast to balance out sketchily drawn characters and the unfortunate obviousness of its plot.

Full Review… | September 21, 2006
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Aurora Borealis -- yes, that title eventually comes home to roost -- doesn't offend in any way, but it's so self-consciously quaint, so unwaveringly 'nice,' that you nearly wish it did.

Full Review… | September 21, 2006
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Aurora Borealis

A good script, well performed by a really good cast...including Juliette Lewis (I say this even though I am not a fan). I was very impressed with Joshua Jackson, and Donald Sutherland in this film. The main plot deals with mortality, growing old, and the love of family...all with a touch of saddness, and humor together. Nice movie.

Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer


I really liked this movie and I feel kinda bad because it doesn't really play like a very happy story and not at all similar the stuff I usually enoy.

I have a son named Duncan and I saw a LOT of similarities between this character, Duncan, and my son, Duncan and that made me kind of uncomfortable.

I thought it was going to be really predictable but things didn't play out in this film in quite the way I thought they would (or should?) and that was a nice change. Gotta love Hollywood ~

I never really cared much for Juliette Lewis but she did a great job with this role. Josh Jackson was very believable as Duncan. Donald Sutherland was every bit the character he portrayed, almost to the point of being scary real. I thought Louise Fletcher was a good choice for his wife but she seemed a little more detached than was believable for me personally.

I had bought this movie to watch whenever and I'm glad I did. I am pretty sure there are parts and nuances I missed the first time that I'll pick up in repeated watchings. I'm sure. The overall message in this movie is hope and that is a VERY good thing! I LOVED the ending too ~


Great casting! Best movie I have seen Joshua Jackson in since the Mighty Ducks. Donald Sutherlnad gives a grand performance I had ever seen him down.
A story of a young man that holds on to his past too much to leave and see what is outside of the town he grew up in. It takes his grandfather (Sutherland) and his physical nurse (Lewis) to open his eyes of what is keeping him from leaving. A real, and great, realationship between the the grandfather and Duncan. A MUST SEE MOVIE!

Aurora Borealis Quotes

– Submitted by Frances H (2 years ago)

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