The Black Balloon - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Black Balloon Reviews

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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
Mike Scott
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Geoff Berkshire
December 4, 2008
Feels stitched together from countless coming of age tales and dramas with mentally impaired characters.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
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.
Top Critic
Ben Kenigsberg
Time Out
November 17, 2011
| Original Score: 2/5
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+
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
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
Nora Lee Mandel
December 5, 2008
Director/writer draws on her personal experiences with frank honesty to lift this up from just another heartwarming movie about a family living with a special-needs teen.
Full Review | Original Score: 7/10
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Frank Hatherley
Screen International
October 18, 2008
The youth-oriented movie introduces a glowing young Australian actress with true star potential -- the international model Gemma Ward.
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
Nick Schager
Slant Magazine
December 3, 2008
Elissa Down's semi-autobiographical film always manages to counter its indie clichés with a sober sense of the volatility that comes from living with an autistic individual.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Margaret Pomeranz
At the Movies (Australia)
March 19, 2008
It's a very auspicious debut for this young Australian filmmaker.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Anna King
Time Out
November 18, 2011
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Prairie Miller
November 29, 2008
The Black Balloon is such a gracefully conceived film, yet crafted with a raw, unflinching honesty exploring the simultaneous sorrow and joy that can define severe family afflictions.
Sandra Hall
Sydney Morning Herald
January 12, 2009
It's a film that comes from the heart.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Stan Hall
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.
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
Rich Cline
Shadows on the Wall
August 17, 2008
Tackles a serious theme with energy and what sometimes feels like too much hilarity. But as the story deepens, it really gets hold of us.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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