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      The Black Balloon

      PG-13 Released Dec 5, 2008 1 hr. 37 min. Drama List
      85% 41 Reviews Tomatometer 84% 2,500+ Ratings Audience Score Thomas struggles with having an autistic brother. Read More Read Less
      The Black Balloon

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      Critics Consensus

      A tender and witty portrayal of a family coping with autism, The Black Balloon is heartfelt without being schmaltzy or moralizing.

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      Audience Reviews

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      Audience Member Set in 1992, this film follows 15 year-old Thomas (Wakefield) who is ashamed and embarrased by his autistic older brother, Charlie (Ford). Having just moved to a new area and school, he meets Jackie (Ward), who surprises him by not letting Charlie's condition come between them. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 02/20/23 Full Review razvan p stupid direction. rewarding low self esteem and low logic Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Audience Member Very good well acted movie really enjoyed this Rated 4 out of 5 stars 02/08/23 Full Review Audience Member Okay firstly the main character does some really awful and disgusting things in this film. Yet despite this everyone in the film forgives him with no explanations as to why, and the film itself doesn't even focus on how what he has done is absolutely disgusting. It's like he cried a bit, whatever lets get back to being cute. Then the love story is forced in and feels lazy. She likes him cause he stared at her at the pool, seriously they don't even talk that much but she likes him cause reasons. Moreover, the romantic pair have no chemistry they're just bland and dull. In addition, the main character changes motivations because the script said so, not because of how he felt or anything. The script just says when he's meant to be an asshole and when he's not. There was no exploration into his mental state about how dealing with his brother is tough and what he does to him. Plus the film is full of stereotypical characters, because bully's are mean to him cause he's new and cause his brother has autism, there's no effort into any of this they're just mean because the script said so. The whole time this main character gets everything he wants and doesn't suffer any consequences his family are there for him the girl still likes him and the brother and him get along. It's not real, it felt too Hollywood, I just wished it focused on the drama of the issue rather then trying to be funny at the same time. Rated 0.5 out of 5 stars 01/21/23 Full Review Audience Member An insight into families with a disabled person trying their best to live normal lives. Tad depressing but well made with some good acting! Rated 4 out of 5 stars 02/27/23 Full Review Audience Member A stunning coming-of-age film from director Elissa Down in which fifteen-year-old Thomas Mollison (a flawless Rhys Wakefield) must settle into a new home and school. The backdrop to this is made up of Thomas' family, an assortment of quirky characters that entail his heavily pregnant mother Maggie (the always outstanding Toni Collette) and father Simon (a wonderful turn from Erik Thomson), who seemingly takes advice from his teddy bear. But adding the most anxiety to Thomas' existence is his older brother, Charlie (a career-defining Luke Ford); he's autistic and has Attention Deficit Disorder. Needless to say, the household is filled with tension, and like a balloon about to pop, this tension is felt by the viewer. It's moments such as these that the cast rise to the occasion and it's under Down's taught direction that 'The Black Balloon' really comes together. Counteracting moments of intensity is the tender blossoming romance between Thomas and the guileless Jackie (the lovely Gemma Ward), his classmate and fellow lifesaver-in-training. Overall, the structure of the piece is textbook stuff and it ends in a way that an audience who invests in such a story deserves, but the true strength of 'The Black Balloon' is that it is a testament to the uncompromising power of unconditional parental love and the bond between siblings. Charlie's school performance also presents the aesthetic similarities between those with and without autism; a powerful message presented with childlike innocence. Quite simply, a gem of a coming-of-age story that shines brighter than most of its contemporaries. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 01/20/23 Full Review Read all reviews Post a rating

      Cast & Crew

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      Critics Reviews

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      Anna King Time Out Rated: 4/5 Nov 18, 2011 Full Review Ben Kenigsberg Time Out Rated: 2/5 Nov 17, 2011 Full Review Michael O'Sullivan Washington Post Thomas and Jackie's friendship, blossoming into a chaste romance, is the dramatic engine that powers The Black Balloon, but it's far from the most important relationship in the film. May 1, 2009 Full Review Mattie Lucas From the Front Row This is standard Hallmark fare but to its credit it never tries to hide from that. Rated: 2/4 Jul 7, 2019 Full Review Al Alexander The Patriot Ledger Autism is a subject most filmmakers fear to broach, but not Aussie newcomer Elissa Down, she attacks the issue with honesty and passion. Rated: B+ May 25, 2013 Full Review Mike Scott Times-Picayune It's a well-meaning film, marked by Luke Ford's sensitive portrayal of a disabled character. But the main character is bland, imparting the same vibe on the rest of the film. Rated: 2.5/4 Aug 14, 2009 Full Review Read all reviews

      Movie Info

      Synopsis Thomas struggles with having an autistic brother.
      Elissa Down
      Executive Producer
      Sally Chesher, Toni Collette
      Elissa Down, Jimmy Jack
      Neoclassic Films
      PG-13 (A Scene of Violence|Some Sexual Content|Brief Strong Language)
      Original Language
      Release Date (Theaters)
      Dec 5, 2008, Limited
      Release Date (DVD)
      Mar 23, 2010
      Box Office (Gross USA)