The Black Balloon Reviews
Follows the life of a 15 year old boy and his family, including his autistic brother. I have to admit, I am watching this movie thinking, I couldn't do it! As well as the constant screaming and running around, there is the shit smearing (ugh!).
This is actually quite a sweet little movie and I was impressed with Gemma Ward as an actress. The 90's setting also gives it that something extra. Worth a look!
DIRECTED BY: Elissa Down
Thomas and his family move to a new home where he starts at a new school. All he wants to do is to fit in, but when his pregnant mother has to take things easy, he is put in charge of his autistic older brother, Charlie. Thomas, with the help of his new girlfriend, Jackie, then faces his biggest challenge yet. Charlie's unusual antics take Thomas on an emotional journey that causes pent-up frustrations towards his brother to pour out.
Such a beautiful, honest, and emotional film. It has extremely good acting. Luke Ford is amazingly good in this movie along with Rhys Wakefield. Toni Collette gave a great performance as well. The story is a real honest look at a family with an autistic son and brother. The struggles the family go through, the anger, and the love they have for each other. It also shows the ignorance people have towards autistic people. They don't understand it, so they act out and make fun of it. The things they do to the girl on the bus absolutely disgusted me. Some things are hard to watch and others you feel the embarrassment for Thomas. It is a really good film and its not all serious. There is comic relief as well. Hope more see it.
It's about the effects of autism, not only on the one afflicted, but those that come in contact with it. The movie is a good mix of drama and comedy, as well as depressing and heartwarming.
Rhys Wakefield as the younger brother Thomas of the autistic elder child Charlie is a wonder. Gemma Ward is not only beautiful, but her acting skills are top shelf. And Luke Ford's Charlie was impeccably played.
I don't shed tears for a whole lot of celluloid, but I did for this film. The singular low fight scene was a horror to watch and you could feel it in your stomach. The taunting, courtesy of the schoolyard bullies, was gut wrenching to watch, and you could just imagine the terror that Charlie felt as well as the anger of his younger protector Thomas.
But the kiss in the army quonset shelter on the obstacle course was uplifting, as was virtually every scene with Gemma Ward in it. She made this film soar.
I confess to not having seen her in anything before this, but I'll surely look for her in the future. I read that she models, and you can certainly see why, but I implore her to continue acting too, for she's a natural talent.
Toni Collette was the forgiving, loving and kind mother, always there to cheer Charlie on, but there when Thomas needed her understanding, too. Erik Thomson as Simon the dad did a great job as well, he also supportive of both of his sons, both of whom he was proud.
Elissa Down, the director, must have loosed the reins and let these actors fly before the wind, but whatever her skill was that put this fine work together, it produced a beautiful result.
'The Black Balloon' is a beautiful, finely crafted film; not lavish in its production, just in its talent.
Makes one think about how we cope when put in bad situations not always of our own making.
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.