NewsBlaze search box Daily News header

The Black Balloon Movie Review

By     get stories by email


Rare is the experience of big screen storytelling that can lure us into amazing new worlds, and yet feel as familiar and authentic as what exists all around us. The Black Balloon is just that kind of film, an Australian family drama that feels so real, that one might easily mistaken it for a documentary.

Written and directed by Elissa Down, The Black Balloon is the story of suburban Sydney teen Thomas (Rhys Wakefield), struggling to navigate the dreaded, turbulent waters of adolescence while dealing with an agonizing situation at home. His older teenage brother Charlie (Luke Ford) is profoundly autistic, and delights in behavior like roaming the neighborhood in his underwear giggling loudly, breaking into neighbors' homes to urinate in their toilets uninvited, or showing up at his brother's school to cause a riot and make his sibling the butt of ridicule.

And while Thomas is torn between caring for and protecting the mentally disabled Charlie, who veers between charming and scary, and pretty much smashing his face in, the bountiful love of his very pregnant mother Maggie (Toni Collette) compensates a good deal of the time for his frustration and emotional pain. Complicating matters even further is Jackie (Gemma Ward), a striking, lonely motherless coed at school who wants to both be his girlfriend and hang out with his family, no matter how dysfunctional, to compensate for the one she doesn't have.

balloon

The Black Balloon is such a gracefully conceived film, yet crafted with a raw, unflinching honesty exploring the simultaneous sorrow and joy that define severe family afflictions. Though one wonders at moments if home is the best place for Charlie, who must be kept restrained under lock and key much of the time, when not a danger to himself and potentially to his newborn sibling. The cast is simply superb, and filmmaker Elissa Down has apparently reached deep inside herself to grace this story with an uncommon and stunning emotional truth, having grown up in a home with two autistic brothers.

NeoClassics Films
Unrated
3 stars

Prairie Miller is a multimedia journalist online, in print and on radio. Contact her through NewsBlaze.

  Please click this get stories by email button to be notified about future stories, and please leave a comment below.

  Please leave a comment here     If it does not display within 10 seconds, please refresh the page

Related Movie Reviews News

Rose sat down to talk about the Ross Katz directed bittersweet dramady, while finishing off an alfalfa burger and diving into an accompanying plate of fries.
And 'how the art world stopped thinking about inequality and learned to love the bling.'
Kevin James talks to Kam Williams about his role in the Paul Blart: Mall Cop sequel
Freida Pinto, born in Mumbai, India, showed an interest in acting early on, participating in community theater and school productions.
Romance, war, adventure, vengeance are some of the common themes for the new DVD releases of the week. The King of Masks and Like Sunday, Like Rain are two.
A schoolgirl humiliated by a classmate takes a humiliating revenge in return, then comes up with the idea of forming The Sisterhood, secret society for girls.

 

NewsBlaze Writers Of The Month


Popular Stories This Month

newsletter logo

NewsBlaze
Copyright © 2004-2014 NewsBlaze Pty. Ltd.
Use of this website is subject to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy  | DMCA Notice               Press Room   |    Visit NewsBlaze Mobile Site