Aurora Borealis
May – December? More like 1950 – 2000.

Theatrical Release Date: 09/15/2006
Director: James C.E. Burke
Cast: Joshua Jackson, Donald Sutherland, Juliette Lewis

I’ve been to Minnesota. It’s cold.

The film “Aurora Borealis” is set in Minnesota. It’s anything but cold.

It’s been well established that I have a soft spot for films about lovable losers mired in their own sadness who find a way to rise above it and live happily ever after.

From “Good Will Hunting” to “Garden State”, if you work with this theme adequately enough, I’ll connect with it.

In “Aurora Borealis”, the lovable loser is played by Joshua Jackson, who is best known for his work in “The Mighty Ducks” franchise and “Dawson’s Creek”.

He’s perfect for this role, charming and witty but also anchored down by his own sense of guilt and duty. In fact, I think he nailed this role so well probably because it’s exactly the same as his role as Pacey in “Dawson’s Creek”.

This is my biggest complaint of the film. You could have called this “Dawson’s Creek: Pacey’s Journey” and it wouldn’t have been far off.

I call it a problem but only because it distracted me from enjoying the film.

“Aurora Borealis” is filled with heart and substance and Donald Sutherland puts in a remarkable performance.

Still, my unabashed love for all things “Dawson’s Creek” gets in my way here.

Also adding to the odd mix of feelings here is that Juliette Lewis is really great in the film. I’ve sort of had a don’t like/hate relationship with her roles but this time around she plays a fairly normal person.

Whether that’s more true to her actual self I don’t know, but I found her to be exceptionally disarming and lovely. You can really see why Pacey’s character would fall for hers.

The plot revolves around Sutherland’s character as his Alzheimer’s and depression begins to get the better of him. Pacey becomes a handyman at his seniors’ apartment complex and meets Lewis’ character there since she is the health care assistant assigned to him.

You won’t be surprised by any of the plot developments or the ending. You might not want to admit you’ve seen this film because you’d probably have to admit some sort of affection for “Dawson’s Creek”.

I have no issues admitting that fact so I’m okay saying that “Aurora Borealis” is a heart-warming film that I’m happy to give a very strong 3 out of 5 rating.

If it weren’t so contrived and by the book, and had Jackson not played Pacey again, this could easily have moved into a higher ratings bracket.

Still, if you’re looking for a sweet movie about breaking free of your rut and starting your life, this is a good one to pick off the rental shelf.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to throw a certain Paula Cole song onto my iPod’s play list.