The Black Balloon - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Black Balloon Reviews

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Al Alexander
The Patriot Ledger
May 25, 2013
Autism is a subject most filmmakers fear to broach, but not Aussie newcomer Elissa Down, she attacks the issue with honesty and passion.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Mike Scott
Times-Picayune
August 14, 2009
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.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
Christian Toto
What Would Toto Watch?
May 3, 2009
The Black Balloon is neither 'Rain Man' nor 'The Other Sister. This Aussie charmer charts its own course.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post
May 1, 2009
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.
Alicia Potter
Boston Phoenix
April 23, 2009
Wakefield anchors the well-paced quieter moments.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Walter V. Addiego
San Francisco Chronicle
April 17, 2009
The film's vision is neither a grim wallow nor falsely cheerful. It's compassionate but unblinking, and in the end we can't help but admire the genuine strength of how its characters accept their special challenge.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Graham Killeen
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
April 16, 2009
The Black Balloon is marked by the fiercest bravery you're likely to encounter on screen this year.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
April 10, 2009
At its sharpest Elissa Down's feature directorial debut is guided by intense, rough-edged emotional swings that feel authentically alive, even when the script settles for tidiness.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
April 10, 2009
The Black Balloon establishes this family with a delicate mixture of tenderness and pain.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Kimberley Jones
Austin Chronicle
April 9, 2009
A film that mostly skirts artifice and sentimentality for a truer portrait of a family battered and bruised but nowhere near broken.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
Phil Villarreal
Arizona Daily Star
April 8, 2009
The outlines are broad and obvious, and Thomas such a bore, that The Black Balloon loses air.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Ted Fry
Seattle Times
April 2, 2009
There are wrenching scenes that are brutally stark, yet there remains a steady sense of calm that is touching and sensitive without ever turning sentimental.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
April 2, 2009
Structurally and cinematically, The Black Balloon sticks to the coming-of-age basics, but [director] Down has a gift for conveying time and place.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Stan Hall
Oregonian
March 6, 2009
It sometimes skirts melodrama territory, but the deep emotions ultimately are real and gratifying. Dependable Toni Collette keeps it grounded, disappearing into her role as the incredibly patient mother.
Top Critic
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
March 6, 2009
The Black Balloon, a splendid Australian film about a teenager and his older autistic brother, gets it, from the happy/sad imagery of the title through the uplifting, but not saccharine, finale.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul)
St. Paul Pioneer Press
March 6, 2009
Collette aside, there is no wow factor in The Black Balloon -- just a not-bad story told with better-than-average skill.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
Brian Tallerico
Movie Retriever
March 6, 2009
It's a film about a supposedly real-world set-up that never feels true, even though the people who made it clearly set out to treat their subject matter and the audience with respect.
Shannon J. Harvey
Sunday Times (Australia)
January 12, 2009
It's brilliant; a beautifully balanced comedy-drama that makes you laugh as much as it makes you cry, sometimes in the same scene.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Jake Wilson
The Age (Australia)
January 12, 2009
A writer-director portrays life with an autistic brother to heartwarming effect.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Sandra Hall
Sydney Morning Herald
January 12, 2009
It's a film that comes from the heart.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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