A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!
Set in suburban Australia, “The Black Balloon” is a diverse coming-of-age drama that focuses on a family dealing with an autistic son, more specifically, the impact this has on Tom, the youngest son as he strives towards having a ’normal’ adolescence.
With a brilliantly realistic performance as Charlie, Luke Ford encapsulates the role incredibly well. From his facial expressions to his mannerisms, Ford is the focal point of the film, even though a love interest sub-plot tends to sway the interest of the viewer.
With recognisable faces including Toni Collette and Erik Thomson make up the family and both give great performances, particularly Collette as the highly believable mother Maggie. Collette is one of Australia’s most incredible exports ever; she possesses an incredible talent.
The film ultimately demonstrates what true love within a family is. Showing various stages of the relationship between the two brothers is honest and ultimately heartwarming. There are moments of tension, awkwardness, frustration, anxiety and intolerance throughout the film, yet these are mostly counteracted with strong and emotionally driven moments of love, acceptance and compassion.
For a coming-of-age tale, “The Black Balloon” focuses on more mature themes and aims to send a message; at points it acts as a social commentary. Some brilliant performances from Ford and Collette tend to pick up the pieces for some other questionable contributors, but ultimately it’s a powerful, emotional story with a lot of range, substance and depth.