Review: 'Aloft,' frustrating fable of miracles, tragedy

Tom Long
The Detroit News

Just when you're ready for "Aloft" to take wing, it ends.

Not that its preparation for flight isn't interesting. It is, which makes its sudden halt all the more frustrating.

Jennifer Connelly stars as Nana, a single mother in remote, snowy Manitoba, Canada. As the film opens, she's taking her two young boys, Ivan (Zen McGrath) and Gully (Winta McGrath), to see a man called The Architect, a healer. Gully has some unspecified terminal ailment and Nana is hoping for a miracle.

Gully doesn't find a cure, but in the midst of some chaotic events, Nana apparently cures another boy of his affliction.

Fast forward 20 years to when a French journalist, Jannia (Melanie Laurent), arrives at the home of the grown Ivan (Cillian Murphy), ostensibly to interview him about his success at raising and training falcons. Disagreeable to begin with, he suspects she has ulterior motives and soon finds he's right; Jannia isn't interested in falcons, she's interested in Nana, from whom Ivan has been estranged for years.

For no immediately clear reason, Ivan agrees to accompany Jannia on her search for Nana, who has become a legendary healer. They set out on a road trip across icy plains to the site of Nana's next planned miracle. Through flashbacks, the tragic event that led to the separation of mother and son unfolds.

This is a movie heading toward something and when Nana and Ivan are reunited, an explosion is as inevitable as it is powerful (in their short time together on screen, Murphy and Connelly are emotionally kinetic). But the fuzzy aftermath of that meeting is left for the viewer to either discern or invent. Just a few more pages of script and "Aloft" might have soared.



Rated R for language and some sexuality

Running time: 112 minutes