Watch: The Black Balloon 2008 123movies, Full Movie Online – 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?.
Plot: Thomas is turning 16. His dad’s in the army and they’ve just moved to a town in New South Wales; his mom 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?
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|7.2/10 Votes: 8,977
|85% | RottenTomatoes
|68/100 | MetaCritic
|N/A Votes: 65 Popularity: 5.91 | TMDB
A plea for understanding of a mysterious condition
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.
The balloon that’ll never go POP
I’ve seen some dysfunctional families in my time, but Thomas REALLY has it rough. His mother is about to give birth and doesn’t get off his case, his dad seems to take orders from a teddy called Rex, as well as being completely useless… and there’s his brother Charlie. Who happens to be severely autistic. We’re talking about constantly rocking back and forth, unable to communicate apart from with sign language, having random fits in public and rushing into total stranger’s houses to use their bathroom facilities. To call him a ‘handful’ would be a gross understatement.
Thomas wants out. He’s fed up of doing everything around the house, his sibling embarrassing him in public and being bullied at school due to his ‘situation’. Then, thanks in part to his brother’s antics, he meets a lovely girl called Jackie, and things start looking up. Not only is she a beautiful, warm, compassionate human being, she can seemingly look past Charlie’s bizarre behaviour and appreciate who he is. Even if he does steal tampons from her bag and suck on them…
The key to the success of The Black Balloon is it really puts us in Thomas’s shoes, and we suffer alongside him as he tries to make the best of a very stressful lifestyle. It’s bad enough having to watch his brother 24/7, but when he starts acting up around people who don’t understand his condition and they just look on with contempt, what can he do? He hates his brother due to the unwanted attention he attracts everywhere, and you can understand why he lashes out at Charlie several times. Only judge if you’ve worked a mile in their shoes, etc.
The performances are out of this world, is Luke Ford (as Charlie) not disabled in real life? Every little detail, from the facial expressions, to the little tics he displays rings true. Note to Dustin Hoffman: THIS is someone with a serious handicap, not your card-counting, won’t-go-on-plane has-difficulty-dancing social misfit from Rain Man. We dislike Charlie for the way he disrupts everyone’s lives… but he can’t help it, and he still shows enough during his quieter moments to demonstrate he can be very good-natured. Rhys Wakefield also effectively garners sympathy as the woe-be-gone Thomas, and Toni Collette as usual adds a touch of class as the mum of this chaotic brood.
Filled with heartbreaking and inspirational moments, it’s a treasure of a film… especially for those who have to live this way. If it teaches us anything, it’s that should never give up on those you love. The more you put in, the more you’ll get back in the long run… 8/10
Original Language en
Runtime 1 hr 37 min (97 min)
Genre Drama, Romance
Director Elissa Down
Writer Elissa Down, Jimmy The Exploder
Actors Rhys Wakefield, Luke Ford, Toni Collette
Awards 18 wins & 24 nominations
Production Company N/A
Sound Mix Dolby Digital
Aspect Ratio 2.35 : 1
Camera Panavision Cameras and Lenses
Laboratory Atlab Film Laboratory Service, Sydney, Australia, DeLuxe
Film Length N/A
Negative Format 35 mm
Cinematographic Process Digital Intermediate (master format), Super 35 (source format)
Printed Film Format 35 mm (anamorphic)