An adolescent boy from a most idiosyncratic family attempts to adjust to his new neighborhood as his 16th birthday looms on the horizon in this family drama from director Elissa Down. Thomas is about to turn 16, and as if adjusting to a new… More An adolescent boy from a most idiosyncratic family attempts to adjust to his new neighborhood as his 16th birthday looms on the horizon in this family drama from director Elissa Down. Thomas is about to turn 16, and as if adjusting to a new neighborhood, a new school, and new friends isn't enough for a teenage boy to contend with, his family is about as unpredictable as they come. His autistic older brother, Charlie, suffers from ADD, and attends a special school on the days that he actually chooses to go. His father, Simon, is an enormous cricket fan who is prone to holding intense discussions with his teddy bear, and his mother, Maggie, is a free spirit who sleeps with pretty much whomever she pleases. Recently, Thomas' mother revealed that she is pregnant. As a result, Thomas finds himself looking after Charlie much more frequently than usual. When Charlie strips half-naked and dashes into the neighbor's house in search of a bathroom, Thomas storms in after him and encounters pretty classmate Jackie -- who is currently attempting to take a shower. Mortified, Thomas begins to realize that he might not be capable of caring for Charlie. Later at school, Thomas realizes that he'll have to learn to swim before he earns his lifesaving badge. Of course, every student in class needs to have a partner, and it just so happens that Thomas' partner is a pretty fellow pupil named Jackie.
Consensus: A tender and witty portrayal of a family coping with autism, The Black Balloon is heartfelt without being schmaltzy or moralizing.