katrinaolson.ca - KO Review of Borealis (CIFF 2015)

Posted on Saturday, October 03, 2015 at 11:00 AM

KO Review of Borealis (CIFF 2015)

Review by Katrina Olson-Mottahed x CalgaryMovies.com

A KO Review by Emily Mody

Borealis is a film about a man named Jonah (played by Jonas Chernick) who is addicted to gambling. He loses a very important hand in poker and ends up owing $100,000 to Tubby (played by Kevin Pollak). Meanwhile, Jonah’s daughter, Aurora (played by Joey King) is struggling with her own problems. Aurora is going blind from a medical condition and she now struggles to relate to her old friends and the problems that seem miniscule in comparison. When Jonah realizes the weight of the threat made against him and his daughter he decides to convince her to leave Winnipeg and take a road trip to Churchill, Manitoba.

At first Jonah chooses not to tell Aurora that he is running from a gambling debt and convinces her that he wants to show her the northern lights. As they get closer to their destination, Jonah is finally able to confide in Aurora and they continue on their journey to view the northern lights together one time before Aurora loses her sight completely. Borealis is directed by Sean Garrity who has worked on the films: My Awkward Sexual Adventure (2012), Inertia (2001), and Blood Pressure (2012).

Borealis was really, kind of beautiful. I believe that the film was originally described to me as brilliantly funny, which is true. There are definitely moments in Borealis that are funny and they probably seem exceptionally funny because it is somewhat unexpected, but still not something that would make you laugh outright. I would definitely describe Borealis as a drama first and then an alternative comedy. The subject matter is pretty heavy, not that I minded, just that I was a little caught off guard. The humor that was portrayed was very honest and authentic which was something that I enjoyed very much. It is, perhaps, in the most tragic of circumstances, that life can be the most amusing and Borealis did seem to toy with this irony.

Throughout the entirety of this film I was reminded of another film entitled Little Miss Sunshine directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris. There were many aspects that Borealis shared with Little Miss Sunshine. They are both road trip films and although they are both funny they also deal with challenging content. Little Miss Sunshine also has its beautiful moments that make you think about life on a larger scope. I really enjoyed Borealis and I would recommend it to anyone who likes films about connecting on an individual level and exploring life in its most challenging and ultimately defining times.

Borealis will be screening as a part of CIFF 2015 at The Globe Cinema on Saturday, October 3, 2015 at 9:15 PM (18+ no minors) and Sunday, October 4, 2015 at 12:30 PM.

Calgary Showtimes: Borealis >

Calgary Local Scene Event Listing: Calgary International Film Festival 2015 >
CalgaryMovies.com's CIFF 2015 Coverage >


NOTE: The showtimes listed on CalgaryMovies.com come directly from the theatres' announced schedules, which are distributed to us on a weekly basis. All showtimes are subject to change without notice or recourse to CalgaryMovies.com.