Thomas is turning 16. His dad's in the army and they've just moved to a town in New South Wales; his mom 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
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Life isn't easy for Thomas. Living as the younger brother in a family of four, with a fifth on the way is hard enough to begin with. It's even worse when the older brother is severely autistic and unable to care for himself in any way. So, quite naturally, Thomas struggles with growing up.
Films dealing with family lives like this only work when they show all the sides to a story and this one does it well. All the members of the family are properly introduced and their interaction is done well enough to give the impression that it is a perfectly normal family, which has a specific difficulty added to it.
The complexities of living with a mentally handicapped person are brought out well enough without ever being overly sentimental and, as far as I know from the interaction I have had with several autistic people, real enough.
All in all it is a real good film about growing up and growing up with a tremendous challenge making it harder on you. I loved it, and even more so because I know what Thomas went through from personal experience.
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