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
To decide on props and set dressing, production designer Nicholas McCallum (as Nick McCallum) visited the family of director/co-writer Elissa Down, which was the basis for the family in the film. Down has said that McCallum authentically captured how her family were "pack rats," replicating the clutter she grew up with and which still marked her parents' home years later when the film was made. See more »
During the opening credits which appear over a montage of the Mollison family moving into a new home, the names of things, objects, and people in the frame are superimposed over them--such as "sky" and "lace curtains" and "brother"--in the same typeface and type size as the credits. The responsible staff person from the company that designed the opening credits was inspired by what he learned about autism because of involvement in this film, namely, what he came to understand of how people with autism see things, and by the way the film's character with autism, Charlie, uses sign language to identify things. See more »
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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