Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Northern Lights in Minneapolis?

Donald Sutherland has had a pretty amazing career - my favorite moment is when he asks Morgan Freeman in Outbreak, "Billy, are you dumb or sumpthin'?". He's 72 now, and still does an awesome smart ass. I admit that I wanted to see Aurora Borealis because it stars Joshua Jackson of Dawson's Creek fame, but I was pretty amazed by Mr. Sutherland's performance. It's basically a movie about a twenty-something guy (Jackson) who didn't really get to where he intended in life due to the untimely death of his father. It's 10 years later, and he's still skulking around with the same group he's known since he was 4, begging for pity jobs. But his grandparents have moved to town (the sprawling, frozen metropolis of the Twin Cities) and his granddad (Sutherland) is quickly declining in body, though still painfully sharp in mind. Jackson meets the home health aide, played by Juliette Lewis in as calm a role I've ever seen her play, and they actually start to like each other. It comes across as a little contrived, but the funny part is that granddad is contriving to make it happen, so that's covered. It's not a huge, whack you over the head kind of movie, but the characters are nice, the plot is very believable, and actually gets to a place worth watching. It's not a hugely happy movie, but you like the characters and want them to do well, and find some sort of peace. It turns out Jackson "lost his god" when his dad died, and regains his self-confidence by helping to care for his granddad and finding a grown-up relationship with Lewis. I bought that. I recommend this movie very highly. It's not huge, but it's nice to watch good acting and good characters that stay with you. Sutherland plays a declining man losing his dignity with amazing poise, though without inspiring pity. Also, Lewis is not annoying for a change, and Jackson is very cute, he even shaves from time to time. There's a good moment when he truly looks like Clooney.

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