7.3/10
8,189
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 »

Videos

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:

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:

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

Thomas Mollison: Dad, do you ever wish Charlie was normal?
Simon Mollison: All I know is he's my own, and you're weak as piss if you don't look after your own.
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Crazy Credits

In the same typeface, style and layout as all the credits that come before it (like, for instance "Costume Designer" on one line with "Claire Granville" just below it), the last credit in the opening sequence has "Title" on one line with "The Black Balloon" just below it. See more »

Connections

Features Blinky Bill: The Mischievous Koala (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

When We Get There (Beautiful Days)
Written by Michael Yezerski and Josh Pyke
Performed by Josh Pyke
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A brilliant debut
5 March 2008 | by deax40See all my reviews

Elissa Down has used her personal experience of growing up with two autistic brothers, one of whom she describes as a "Rainman" character, and the other the inspiration for Charlie, the autistic and ADHD-afflicted brother of Thomas. The story is touching, sometimes side-splittingly funny, sometimes tragically upsetting, but ultimately uplifting. There isn't a weak performance, and as usual Toni Collette gives a believable portrayal of a mother whose strength holds her family together. Luke Ford is amazing as Charlie, reminiscent of Leonardo Di Caprio in "What's Eating Gilbert Grape?" It's good to see an Australian film that tackles such a difficult subject, and does so brilliantly.


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