The Black Balloon
When Thomas and his family move to a new home and he has to start a new school, all he wants is to fit in. But when his pregnant mother has to be admitted to hospital for some enforced rest, his father leaves him in charge of Charlie, his autistic brother.
The Black Balloon weaves a story around many themes, at its heart is the hardships endured by all members of a family with an autistic sibling, and the love and commitment that bonds us together.
With a combination of autism and ADHD, Charlie is a handful, and what’s worse, at least in Thomas’ eyes is that he takes all the attention and Thomas has to take the back seat. You see Thomas is almost sixteen and in the words of his parents should be old enough to be responsible. But there’s a lot going on in Thomas’ life too, one thing being Jackie. Fortunately Jackie has a heart of gold and sees something magical in Thomas’ family and accepts Charlie with no reservations, slowly teaching Thomas how to appreciate his brother.
Of course, nothing in this movie goes to plan, it’s an emotional roller coaster where we get to witness attitudes and prejudice from neighbours, strangers and school kids, but also love and acceptance from a select few.
Luke Ford who plays Charlie absolutely nails the role with an Oscar worthy performance and is supported by a stand out cast that ably shows the reality of the daily struggles facing this family.
It’s a movie that should be eye opening to anyone who has never known someone with Autism, and should hopefully make you think twice before judging the misbehaviour of kids who look old enough to know better, yet whose parents seem to struggle with controlling them.
The Black Balloon is probably the best Australian movie that I have seen, and would rank in my best DVDs of 2008 list, if I ever get round to writing it!
Reviewed by: Jonathan Read.
Rating: M – Suitable for mature audiences 16 years and over.
Release Date: December 1st, 2008
Stars: Rhys Wakefield, Luke Ford, Toni Collette, Erik Thomson, Gemma Ward, Lloyd Allison-Young, Nathin Butler, Lisa Kowalski, Firass Dirani, Aaron Glennane, Andy Meritakis, Henry Nixon
Length (Minutes): 92
Media Format: DVD
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Supported Audio: Dolby Digital Stereo
Director: Down, Elissa