The Black Balloon
The Black Balloon (2008)

When Thomas and his family move to a new home and he has to start at a new school, all he wants is to fit in. When his pregnant mother has to take things easy, his father Simon puts him in charge of his autistic older brother Charlie.… More

Directed By:
Rated: PG-13
Running Time:
Genre: Drama
Release Date: February 9, 2008
DVD Release Date: March 23, 2010
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Critic Score: 88% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews

Consensus: A tender and witty portrayal of a family coping with autism, The Black Balloon is heartfelt without being schmaltzy or moralizing.

Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post

Thomas and Jackie's friendship, blossoming into a chaste romance, is the dramatic engine that powers The Black Balloon, but it's far from the most important relationship in the film.

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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times

The Black Balloon establishes this family with a delicate mixture of tenderness and pain.

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Al Alexander
The Patriot Ledger

Autism is a subject most filmmakers fear to broach, but not Aussie newcomer Elissa Down, she attacks the issue with honesty and passion.

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Walter V. Addiego
San Francisco Chronicle

The film's vision is neither a grim wallow nor falsely cheerful. It's compassionate but unblinking, and in the end we can't help but admire the genuine strength of how its characters accept their special challenge.

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Ted Fry
Seattle Times

There are wrenching scenes that are brutally stark, yet there remains a steady sense of calm that is touching and sensitive without ever turning sentimental.

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Mike Scott

It's a well-meaning film, marked by Luke Ford's sensitive portrayal of a disabled character. But the main character is bland, imparting the same vibe on the rest of the film.

Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune

At its sharpest Elissa Down's feature directorial debut is guided by intense, rough-edged emotional swings that feel authentically alive, even when the script settles for tidiness.

Ty Burr
Boston Globe

Structurally and cinematically, The Black Balloon sticks to the coming-of-age basics, but [director] Down has a gift for conveying time and place.

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Christian Toto
What Would Toto Watch?

The Black Balloon is neither 'Rain Man' nor 'The Other Sister. This Aussie charmer charts its own course.

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More reviews for The Black Balloon

Flixster Audience Score: 84% Flixster User Reviews
Kevin M. Williams
An Australian household has a full plate and then some with their eldest, who is autistic, and how they live their lives in the face of staunch adversity is the… More
Thomas Johnston
What a great film. Superb acting! It felt as though I was seeing this difficult situation from an insiders point of view.
Nicki Marie
Another decent Australian film. Amazing! Follows the life of a 15 year old boy and his family, including his autistic brother. I have to admit, I am watching… More
Luke Ford, Rhys Wakefield, Toni Collette, Gemma Ward, Erik Thomson DIRECTED BY: Elissa Down Thomas and his family move to a new home where he starts at a… More
Cynthia S.
Interesting, and depressing, but in no way "compelling" as the "recent reviews" would indicate. A decent film, but not great. The two boys… More
Luke Baldock
I liked this film. I liked it a lot. I found it unfortunate that there were some aspects that prevented me from loving it. Wakefield is fabulous as a young man… More