Rémi Chayé’s Long Way North is a lovely, traditionally animated film that falls a little short in the story department. Sasha (Christa Théret) is a young girl born into late 19th-century Russian aristocracy who is less interested in the pomp and circumstance or arranged waltzes of the nobility than in tracking down her explorer grandfather Oloukine (Féodor Atkine) and his ship the Davai, lost in the Arctic on the way to the North Pole. Sasha runs away from her fancy but stifling home, and after learning how the other half lives, she convinces the grizzled Captain Lund (Loïc Houdré) to search for the Davai — and its million-ruble reward — using one of Oloukine’s old navigation sheets as a guide. Long Way North is in some ways a familiar spunky-princess narrative, which we can always use more of, and director Chayé has said that Ernest Shackleton’s doomed Antarctic expedition was a major influence (thus accounting for why the picture feels like a historical account when it technically isn’t). Once the voyage begins, the picture keeps its eye on the narrative ball to the extent that what feels like the third act gets rushed through in the last few of the picture’s 80-minute run-time. But it’s a solid spunky-princess adventure along the way.
Long Way North
Opens Friday at the Roxie Theater.