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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:

From the producer of "Strictly Ballroom." 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:

The Black Balloon 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

A drought was taking place during the shooting of the film. But on the day scheduled for shooting scenes involving a rain storm and for which a special effects company had been contracted to create the after effects of the storm, it happened to rain in the morning. Once on site, crew members from that special effects company said they really didn't have to do much. See more »

Quotes

Russell: [sitting next to Thomas, who does not have autism but has been forced to get a ride to his school by riding in the special-education school bus with his brother Charlie who has autism; Russell has autism and is Charlie's friend] Are you riding the bus? Are you coming to our school?
Thomas Mollison: No, no!
Russell: Oh, yes you are! Thomas is coming to our school! Thomas is riding the bus with Charlie! Thomas is riding the bus with Russell! Do you like buses, Thomas? Do you like buses?
Thomas Mollison: [...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

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 »

Connections

Featured in 20 to 1: Sizzling Superstars (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Streets of Your Town
Written by Grant McLennan and Robert Forster
Performed by The Go-Betweens
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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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