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Peruvian writer-director Claudia Llosa (The Milk of Sorrow) takes audiences on a journey into the seemingly barren spiritual and emotional divide between a mother (Jennifer Connelly) and the now-adult son (Cillian Murphy) she abandoned much earlier in the child’s life. As the struggling mother of two rambunctious young sons, she made tough choices while seeking to provide for and protect her boys, but a fateful turn sends her down the pathway toward a life as a healer and artist.

Her surviving son goes on to become a falconer with a curious connection to his animal charges. When he is approached by a journalist (Mélanie Laurent), eager to interview his estranged mother, the son uses the opportunity to confront some hard truths about their past. There is a difficulty in saddling up next to these prickly characters, astutely rendered through the performing leads, and it is a testament to the determination of Llosa, who refuses to make this experience easy for viewers. Aloft offers little in the way of expected rewards and leaves us with frustrating questions and few, if any answers about the characters or the overall themes of the power of art and the meaning of life. (R) Grade: C+