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The Black Balloon
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The Black Balloon (2008) More at IMDbPro »

Photos (See all 6 | slideshow) Videos (see all 4)
The Black Balloon -- When Thomas and his family move to a new home and he starts a new school, all he wants is to fit in. But that proves difficult with his autistic brother Charlie interfering - especially when new neighborhood girl Jackie catches both brothers' eyes this heartwarming comedy-drama.
The Black Balloon -- Trailer for this drama
The Black Balloon -- 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 (Ward), accept his brother?
The Black Balloon -- 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 (Ward), accept his brother?


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Up 2% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
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Release Date:
6 March 2008 (Australia) See more »
Normal is relative. See more »
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? Full summary » | Add synopsis »
17 wins & 24 nominations See more »
(48 articles)
Gemma Ward: "Unconditional"
 (From SneakPeek. 16 June 2016, 4:33 AM, PDT)

We Were Here and Flushed scoop Wasa nominations
 (From 30 May 2016, 9:43 PM, PDT)

Crushed set for March 15 theatrical release
 (From 10 March 2016, 3:30 PM, PST)

User Reviews:
A plea for understanding of a mysterious condition See more (38 total) »


  (in credits order)

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 ... Mate of Kid Next Door
Oliver Brookes ... Other Mate of Kid Next Door
Jan Ringrose ... Neighbour
Bradley Orford ... Neighbour
Zelie Bullen ... Mother in Van
Anthony Phelan ... Mr. Masters
Deborah Piper ... Janet - Social Worker

Henry Nixon ... Trevor - Social Worker
Jim Maxwell ... Cricket Commentator (voice) (as James Maxwell)
Rebecca Massey ... Miss Babb
Ryan Clark ... Dean

Aaron Glenane ... Bucko

Lisa Kowalski ... Sally

Lloyd Allison-Young ... James

Nathin Butler ... Chris
Elle-May Patterson ... Kylie
Carla Gee ... Caroline
Toby Molineaux ... Student Who Gets Hit

Yure Covich ... Maths Teacher
Paul Doyle ... P.E. Teacher
Andrew James ... Teacher at Fight

Firass Dirani ... Russell
Ngoc Phan ... Teacher's Aide
Sally Evans ... Girl on Bus

Kate Box ... Elizabeth
Zoe Carides ... Russell's Mum
George Badawi ... Russell's Dad
Jeffery Armstrong ... Student on Bus and in Musical 'Afloat!'
Robert Armstrong ... Student on Bus and in Musical 'Afloat!'
Rosemary Armstrong ... Student on Bus and in Musical 'Afloat!'

Holly Austin ... Student on Bus and in Musical 'Afloat!'
Alexander Berlage ... Student on Bus and in Musical 'Afloat!'
George Bountros ... Student on Bus and in Musical 'Afloat!'
Matthew Cahill ... Student on Bus and in Musical 'Afloat!'
Cameron Fyfe ... Student on Bus and in Musical 'Afloat!'
Jordan Hagivassilis ... Student on Bus and in Musical 'Afloat!'
Tyne Miller ... Student on Bus and in Musical 'Afloat!'
Lachlan Monaghan ... Student on Bus and in Musical 'Afloat!'
Jared Ohlstein ... Student on Bus and in Musical 'Afloat!'
Mathew Parsons ... Student on Bus and in Musical 'Afloat!'
Amy Jo Farrow Potts ... Student on Bus and in Musical 'Afloat!'

Andrew Ryan ... Student on Bus and in Musical 'Afloat!'
Ellie Singer ... Student on Bus and in Musical 'Afloat!'
Edward Smith ... Student on Bus and in Musical 'Afloat'
Kieran Smith ... Student on Bus and in Musical 'Afloat!'
Gemma Thomas ... Student on Bus and in Musical 'Afloat!'
Jackson T. Trout ... Student on Bus and in Musical 'Afloat!'
Tom Trout ... Student on Bus and in Musical 'Afloat!'
Shai de Vletter-Sont ... Student on Bus and in Musical 'Afloat'
Sonny Vrebac ... Student on Bus and in Musical 'Afloat' (as Sinisa Vrebac)
Arahni Sont ... Teacher

Claire McCarthy ... Teacher
Judy Singer ... Teacher
Terry Flanagan ... Bus Driver
Millie Spencer-Brown ... Checkout Girl (as Millie Spencer Brown)

Inge Sildnik ... Supermarket Customer
Birthe Nohrden ... Supermarket Customer
Jennifer Cutler ... Maternity Ward Patient
Michael Allison ... Maternity Ward Husband
Martin Lynes ... Emergency Doctor
Eliza Logan ... Emergency Nurse
Sofia Fedirchuk ... Baby Sophie
Indigo Cumming ... Baby Sophie
James Duffy ... Baby Sophie
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Andy Meritakis ... Daniel (uncredited)
Louise Sykes ... Maternity Nurse (uncredited)

Directed by
Elissa Down 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Elissa Down  writer
Jimmy Jack  (as Jimmy The Exploder)

Produced by
Sally Ayre-Smith .... co-producer
Sally Ayre-Smith .... line producer
Anita Belgiorno-Nettis .... executive producer
Sally Chesher .... executive producer
Toni Collette .... executive producer
Elissa Down .... co-producer
Mark Gooder .... executive producer
Jimmy Jack .... co-producer (as Jimmy the Exploder)
Tristram Miall .... producer
Mark Turnbull .... co-producer
Original Music by
Michael Yezerski 
Cinematography by
Denson Baker (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Veronika Jenet 
Casting by
Nikki Barrett 
Production Design by
Nicholas McCallum  (as Nick McCallum)
Art Direction by
Matthew Putland 
Set Decoration by
Jodie Whetter 
Costume Design by
Claire Granville 
Makeup Department
Kate Birch .... hair stylist
Kate Birch .... makeup artist
Lara Jade Birch .... hair stylist (as Lara Jade)
Lara Jade Birch .... makeup artist (as Lara Jade)
Bob McCarron .... special makeup effects artist
Wizzy Molineaux .... makeup designer
Jennifer Stanfield .... additional hair stylist (as Jen Stanfield)
Jennifer Stanfield .... additional makeup artist (as Jwn Stanfield)
Lynn Wheeler .... additional hair stylist
Lynn Wheeler .... additional makeup artist
Production Management
Colleen Clarke .... post-production manager: PPost & Deliver
Sue MacKay .... production manager
James Sdrinis .... post-production manager: PPost & Deliver
Peter Vertzagias .... assistant unit manager
Cameron Wintour .... unit manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Brendan Barry .... additional assistant director
Sophie Bennett .... directing attachment
Jane Griffin .... second assistant director
Nick Heygate .... third assistant director
Hamish Roxburgh .... additional assistant director
Eddie Thorne .... additional assistant director
Mark Turnbull .... first assistant director
Joshua Watkins .... additional assistant director (as Josh Watkins)
Art Department
Chris Harris .... art department assistant
Renee Hoare .... props buyer
Renee Hoare .... set dresser
Nick Volpe .... art department attachment
Dillon Yeats .... stand-by props
Ingrid Weir .... art department graphics (uncredited)
Sound Department
Yulia Akerholt .... dialogue editor
Steve Burgess .... sound effects editor
Leah Katz .... assistant dialogue editor
Kieran McVeigh .... assistant sound editor
Ben Osmo .... sound recordist
Andrew Parsons .... second boom attachment
Paul Pirola .... sound designer
Paul Pirola .... sound re-recording mixer
Blair Slater .... foley artist
Mario Vaccaro .... foley artist
Mark van Kool .... boom operator
David White .... adr recordist
Andy Wright .... adr recordist
Michael McMenomy .... adr engineer (uncredited)
Special Effects by
Karl McManus .... special effects: Image FX
Dave Roberts .... special effects: Image FX
Visual Effects by
Lindsay Adams .... compositing lead: Animal Logic
Morgane Furio .... visual effects supervisor: Animal Logic
Matt Greig .... compositor: Animal Logic
Jason Hawkins .... compositor: Animal Logic
Edwina Hayes .... senior visual effects producer: Animal Logic
Jayne Herrmann .... visual effects producer: Animal Logic
Julien Leveugle .... compositor: Animal Logic
Marco Nero .... digital matte painter: Animal Logic
Murray Smallwood .... compositor: Animal Logic
Jamie Wood .... compositor: Animal Logic
Lawrence Woodward .... action coordinator
Terry Flanagan .... stunt driver: bus driver (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Mark Alston .... additional video split operator
Denson Baker .... camera operator: "a" camera
Simon Cardwell .... additional still photographer
Simon Chapman .... camera operator: "b" camera
Matt Clyde .... additional electrician
Garfield Darlington .... additional electrician
Ben Dugard .... additional electrician
Jeff Eastman .... additional grip
Drew English .... additional clapper loader
Geoff Full .... additional grip
Peter Giuliani .... third electrician
Craig Jackson .... additional grip
Ben Jasper .... clapper loader: "b" camera
Pim Kulk .... clapper loader
James Lengel .... additional electrician
Gerard Maher .... additional clapper loader
Christopher Lee Miles .... video split operator (as Chris Miles)
Morag Mirankar .... additional clapper loader
Jules O'Loughlin .... additional camera operator
Alby Orellana .... focus puller
Scott Parsons .... best boy grip
Justin Plummer .... best boy
Jaan Ranniko .... additional video split operator
Mark Rogers .... still photographer
Kate Rose .... additional focus puller
Stephen Szafranek .... additional grip
Robert Tench .... additional clapper loader
Matt Toll .... additional first assistant camera
Jay Torta .... additional focus puller
Jason Trew .... key grip
Topul 'Willy' Villami .... grip assistant (as Viliami Topui)
Jason Weekes .... additional grip
Simon Williams .... gaffer
Casting Department
Ashleigh-Kate Brooks .... extras casting assistant (as Ashleigh Brooks)
Danny Long .... casting associate
Jayne Montague .... extras casting assistant
Dex Tallo .... extras casting
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Sarah Brest .... additional stand-by costumer
Kirsten Doak .... costume buyer
Marilyn Down .... seamstress
Kate Granville .... assistant stand-by costumer
Jill Guice .... key stand-by costumer (as Jilly Guice)
Sam Perkins .... additional stand-by costumer
Carol Tee .... costume supervisor
Warwick Young .... costume advisor: military
Editorial Department
Trish Cahill .... digital intermediate colorist
Ben Crowley .... on-line assistant
Cameron D'Arcy .... digital intermediate assistant
Warren Eagles .... colorist: dailies
Heather Galvin .... digital intermediate smoke operator
Katherine Heads .... post-production coordinator
Sally Johnson .... colorist: dailies
Maria Kaltenthaler .... assistant editor
Simon Morris .... digital intermediate assistant
Rollo Pinsent .... editing attachment
Anne Robinson .... digital intermediate longform manager
Justin Ngy Tran .... digital intermediate supervisor
Kento Watanabe .... on-line assistant
Leroy Wolf .... color timer (uncredited)
Location Management
Annelies Norland .... location manager
Music Department
Joe Accaria .... musician: featured soloist
Daniel Baker .... composer assistant
Jeremy Barnett .... musician: featured soloist
Laura Bishop .... music preparation: Jigsaw Music
Darryl Carthew .... musician: featured soloist
Paul Jarman .... musician: featured soloist
Brenda Lee Jones .... musician: featured soloist
Peter Kennard .... musician: featured soloist
Stephen Lalor .... musician: featured soloist
Genevieve Lang .... musician: featured soloist
James K. Lee .... music preparation: Jigsaw Music
Chris Nelius .... composer: additional music
Christopher Nelius .... score producer (as Chris Nelius)
Norman Parkhill .... music supervisor
Ben Pritchard .... assistant music engineer
Phil Punch .... music mixer: Electric Avenue
Phil Punch .... music recordist: Electric Avenue
Veronique Serret .... musician: featured soloist
Veronique Serret .... orchestra contractor
Ganesh Singaram .... assistant music engineer
James Tawadros .... musician: featured soloist
Joseph Tawadros .... musician: featured soloist
Jessica Wells .... music preparation: Jigsaw Music
Michael Yezerski .... score producer
Jonathon Zwartz .... musician: featured soloist (as Jonathan Zwartz)
Claire McCarthy .... musician (uncredited)
Transportation Department
Mike Horvath .... driver: cast
Matt Worth .... vehicle consultant
Other crew
Tatjana Alexis .... adr loop group
Tony Anderson .... additional unit assistant
Tobias Andersson .... production runner
Jeremy Atcliffe .... production accountant
Craig Blair .... caterer: Kollage Katering
Ashleigh-Kate Brooks .... stand-in: Jackie (as Ashleigh Brooks)
Charmaine Bunning .... adr loop group
Frank Cacchione .... liaison: Defense
Brian Carpenter .... unit assistant
Anthony Cogin .... adr loop group (as Tony Cogin)
Al Colman .... additional unit assistant
Nicla Comparin .... choreography intern
Renee Costello .... adr loop group
Annie Crossan .... assistant to choreographer
Emma Dickinson .... adr loop group
Gregory Down .... military advisor
Patrick Elkington .... additional unit assistant (as Pat Elkington)
Neil Faulkner .... additional unit assistant
Robert Festinger .... advisor: Aurora
Kerry Fetzer .... caterer: Kollage Katering
Carl Fifield .... stand-in: male
Brendan Fitzgerald .... additional unit assistant
Tony Gibbs .... insurance: H.W. Wood Australia
Therese Hanna .... baby nurse
Mathew Harrington .... production runner
Melissa Hayward .... continuity
Robbie Henley .... additional unit assistant
Mike Horvath .... production runner (as Michael Horvath)
Arif Jafari .... adr loop group
Linda Jefferys .... unit nurse
David Knight .... additional unit assistant
Catherine Lavelle .... publicity: CLPR
David Lawrance .... laboratory liaison: Atlab Australia
Kelly Lefever .... script editor
Damian Macey .... additional unit assistant
Ben Marks .... adr loop group
Patrick Maxwell .... epk
Claire McCarthy .... choreographer
David McKenna .... advisor: Aurora
Annette McKenzie .... double: Maggie breast feeding
Will Mitchell .... unit assistant
Michaal Monk .... stand-in: Maggie
Stephanie Moxham .... accounts assistant
Warren Pearson .... dailies assistant
Joan Peters .... legal services
Laurence Pettinari .... safety officer
Jessica Phillips .... stand-in: Jackie
Gwyneth Price .... adr loop group
Lynne Ramsay .... advisor: Aurora
Suzanne Richards .... additional unit nurse
Chantelle Robertson .... clearance intern
Fiona Rossendell .... liaison: Defense Housing Authority
Yuri Shukost .... liaison: Defense (as Yuri Shukhost)
Sasha Skalrud .... adr loop group
Corrie Soeterboek .... completion guarantor: First Australian Completion Bond Company
Sotiri Sotiropoulos .... additional safety officer
Duncan Thompson .... script editor
Alison Tilson .... advisor: Aurora
Kieran Turner .... adr loop group
Anika Valenti .... production secretary
Kelly Vincent .... production coordinator
Anke Vuletic .... assistant to director
Anke Vuletic .... sponsorship coordinator
Tim Waygood .... representative: Kodak
Michelle Weiss .... choreography intern
Carl Blacklidge .... boat wrangler (uncredited)
Veronica Gleeson .... special thanks
Scott Meek .... special thanks

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Rated PG-13 for some sexual content, a scene of violence, and brief strong language
97 min
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

A Bronze Medallion is an Australian Lifesaving qualification. There are 14 components that must be completed to achieve this qualification, all based around high quality swimming skills and rescue techniques.See more »
Maggie Mollison:Your brother will never be able to do the things you can Thomas, He will live with us for the rest of his life.See more »
Movie Connections:
Country GirlsSee more »


How much sex, violence, and profanity are in this movie?
What does SCAB stand for?
Where is this movie set?
See more »
59 out of 68 people found the following review useful.
A plea for understanding of a mysterious condition, 16 March 2008
Author: Philby-3 from Sydney, Australia

It's a pity this film will not be more widely seen. It is an authentic demonstration of what it's like to live with one of the most enigmatic of mental disorders, autism, which afflicts about one person in 1000 (the more common and milder Asperger's syndrome affects about 6 in every thousand). Elissa Down, the maker of the film, has personal experience – two of her brothers are autistic – and with the aid of some truly accomplished acting she avoids cheap dramatics and conveys some genuine feeling.

The family portrayed has its eccentricities but you could not describe it as dysfunctional. Dad (Eric Thompson) and Mum (Tony Collette) not only have a strong love for their autistic teenager Charlie (Luke Ford) but they have learned to cope with his behaviour. The dramatic tension comes from younger brother Thomas (Rhys Wakefield) who loves the brother he has grown up with but finds the effect Charlie's' behaviour has on other people hard to take. Charlie has a few less than endearing habits like throwing tantrums at supermarket checkouts and bursting into other people's houses to use their toilet. The general adolescent horror of people who are different doesn't help much either – having a "spastic" as a brother is not good for the image. Yet Thomas's developing relationship with neighbour and fellow lifesaving squad member Jackie (Gemma Ward) gets a positive push from his situation.

As director, Elissa Down has a nice light touch, and the prejudice and distaste the family have to deal with are neatly sketched in. There are plenty of amusing moments; when a fight breaks out in a bus queue outside a high school several male teachers try ineffectually to stop it and it is the tiny but determined female lifesaving coach who, furiously blowing her whistle, restores order. Tough army NCO Dad holds conversations with his teddy bear and the two brothers wind up on stage together as dancing monkeys after Charlie's original partner throws a tantrum.

It has been suggested that autism, which has a strong genetic component, is a variation on normal rather than a defect, but its severely disabling nature means it has to be regarded as a malfunction. Autistic savants with freakish mathematic powers a la "Rainman" are extremely rare. People with mild forms of autism can function quite well in society, but Charlie is not one of those and will require care for the rest of his life. All this film is asking is for a little understanding of the pressures on families who have to support people like Charlie. I wish one of the commercial channels would show this in prime time instead of the usual reality show crap.

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Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Luke Ford deserves awards for her performance! tim_kroenert
Unrealistic Scenes sunbatt50
In what decade was this film set? kite33
black balloon significance? kuba_1980
Re-watching this in 2013 rukiblast
Why is Thomas such a bad swimmer? off_target
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