7.3/10
8,180
39 user 43 critic

The Black Balloon (2008)

PG-13 | | Drama, Romance | 6 March 2008 (Australia)
Trailer
2:06 | 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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Photos

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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 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:

AUD 5,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$94,347 (Australia), 20 April 2008, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$10,342, 7 December 2008, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$87,944, 27 April 2009

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,136,663, 31 December 2008
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

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 »

Quotes

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

Referenced in At the Movies: Summer Special 2008/09 (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Don't Go Now
Written by S Day and R. St Clare
Performed by Ratcat
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Life is neither fair nor easy
11 April 2008 | by LazySodSee all my reviews

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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