7.3/10
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The Black Balloon (2008)

PG-13 | | Drama, Romance | 6 March 2008 (Australia)
Trailer
2:07 | Trailer
All Thomas wants is a normal adolescence but his autistic brother, Charlie, thwarts his every opportunity. Will Thomas, with the help of his girlfriend, Jackie, accept his brother?

Director:

Elissa Down

Writers:

Elissa Down, Jimmy Jack (as Jimmy The Exploder)
18 wins & 24 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Rhys Wakefield ... Thomas Mollison
Luke Ford ... Charlie Mollison
Toni Collette ... Maggie Mollison
Erik Thomson ... Simon Mollison
Gemma Ward ... Jackie Masters
Sarah Woods ... Woman Next Door
Sam Fraser ... Kid Next Door
Makirum Fahey-Leigh Makirum Fahey-Leigh ... Mate of Kid Next Door
Oliver Brookes Oliver Brookes ... Other Mate of Kid Next Door
Jan Ringrose Jan Ringrose ... Neighbour
Bradley Orford Bradley Orford ... Neighbour
Zelie Bullen ... Mother in Van
Anthony Phelan ... Mr. Masters
Deborah Piper Deborah Piper ... Janet - Social Worker
Henry Nixon ... Trevor - Social Worker
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Storyline

Thomas is turning 16. His Dad is in the army and they've just moved to a town in New South Wales; his mum is pregnant; his older brother, Charlie, who's autistic, has his own adolescent sexual issues. Thomas finds Charlie an embarrassment in public, so when Thomas is attracted to Jackie, a girl in his swim class, Charlie presents any number of obstacles when she drops by their house, when the three of them go for a walk, and during a family birthday dinner. Can Thomas find a way to enter the world of teen romance and still be his brother's keeper, or is Charlie's disability going to prove more than Thomas can handle? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Normal is relative. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some sexual content, a scene of violence, and brief strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Australia | UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 March 2008 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

A fekete léggömb See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

AUD5,000,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,136,663
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The school musical that Charlie, the son with autism, performs in was originally conceived as being a production of the real Broadway musical "Cats." But the licensing rights were too expensive for the film's budget. So the filmmakers decided to create two song-and-dance routines to be performed as if they were part of a full musical, called "Afloat," based on the Noah's Ark story. Since that story involves animals being in pairs on the ark, that choice facilitated the pairing of actors without autism to help young extras with autism to portray the students performing in the musical. See more »

Quotes

Jackie Masters: Close your eyes, what do you see?
Thomas Mollison: Black.
Jackie Masters: Look harder.
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the same typeface, style and layout as all the credits that come before it (like, for instance "Costume Designer" on one line with "Claire Granville" just below it), the last credit in the opening sequence has "Title" on one line with "The Black Balloon" just below it. See more »

Connections

Features Dot and the Kangaroo (1977) See more »

Soundtracks

For He's A Jolly Good Fellow
Traditional
Performed by the Mollison family and Jackie
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Solid and Truthful, A Movie Worth Seeing
8 March 2009 | by treadwaywritesSee all my reviews

This true to life film is a inside glimpse into a family that is, at its core, held together by the mother. Toni Collette plays the mother of an autistic son. Her performance is real and a driving force in the film. Her autistic son Charlie is a trial for the entire family and for his mother, whose life is so static and day in day out, she has come to accept Charlie for the person he is and she does this through simple love.

At the center of the story is the other son, Thomas (Rhys Wakefield) and his burden of keeping his brother Charlie a secret and his further burdens of family life. When father Simon is away from the home it is Thomas who tries to run the household. Charlie is played by Luke Ford who gives a wonderful performance (remember him from The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor). Their family struggles with bouts of seeming normalcy and shocking bits of harsh truth and bitter reality.

Thomas develops a strained relationship with a girl that is nice to him. This girl, Jackie (Gemma Ward) is striking and upon making it clear that she likes Thomas finds that he doesn't know how to deal with this. Both solid performances by Gemma Ward, a model, and Rhys Wakefield with his truthful, from the gut acting.

Written and directed by Elissa Down, who has two autistic brothers in real life, obviously brings her experiences to bear and is innately able to bring pressure to this trouble torn family while bringing out some very emotional love. The winner of this film is Toni Collete whose acting through the turmoil is completely convincing. The acting together with a strong script really make this a movie worth seeing.


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