Aurora, a Finnish, party-addicted, alcoholic young woman has no desire to feel anything real with another man. She parties and drinks as long as she’s awake, and wants to move to Norway for another economic opportunity. Until she meets Darian, an Iranian refugee searching for asylum in Finland, Aurora and Darian strike up a deal for three thousand euros for Aurora to find Darian a bride. His deadly ultimatum is to find a wife, or kill himself, to ensure asylum for himself and his daughter. Things begin to change when the two struggling people fall helplessly in love with one another.
“Aurora, a Finnish, party-addicted, alcoholic young woman has no desire to feel anything real with another man.”
Aurora finds itself set in the darkly comic, romance subgenre, and lives up to its jokes. From the crude sexual commentary to riffs on men’s unruly view of women to the Iranian/Finnish culture barrier, this films finds humor in even some serious moments. But, what keeps the balance perfectly, is the film’s capability of doubling down on its heavy material. Aurora dealing with a sick father, a mother who passed away, her own destructive behavior, and her unwillingness to allow love into her heart, as well as, Darian’s unfortunate political situation, his daughter dealing with life without a mother, all set up the film to handle its drama in an assortment of ways.
Aurora, played by Mimosa Willamo, is a tragically-flawed heroine. Willamo manages to capture the characters explosive shifts in behavior and substance abuse, and still leave room for the viewer to want the best for her. Amir Escandari’s turn as Darian is equally as moving. He creates the character’s undying loyalty for his daughter evident from his entrance on the screen and pulls the empathy directly from the viewer. These fatally mismatched characters are brought to life by the two actors and have natural on-screen chemistry. Most of the film, from their language swapping banter, they made me root for their love, despite the background noise keeping them apart.
“From crude sexual commentary to riffs on men’s unruly view of women to the Iranian/Finnish culture barrier, this films finds humor in even some serious moments.”
There was, of course, some familiar themes that lead to predictable outcomes. Aurora’s story arc was all but destined from the beginning of the film. She was broken and needed a major event to bring her to rock bottom and find help. Though, these familiar themes are executed well enough to overlook.
All in all, Aurora is a feel-good, starkly contrasted, romance about two people at their ends of life, looking for a new beginning.
Aurora (2019) Directed by Miia Tervo. Written by Miia Tervo. Starring Mimosa Willamo, Amir Escandari, Oona Airola.
8 out of 10