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58 Reviews
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pretty realistic
Some reviews of this brilliant film have suggested that it's unrealistic, overly chaotic, and that Mum's (Tony Collette's)attitude is too falsly positive - wrong!!!! My autistic son is much higher functioning than Charlie in the film, and much easier to handle. BUT the day to day scenarios are spot-on accurate. Tony Collette also reflects brilliantly what it is like to be...
Published on 4 Jun 2009 by L. Seiler

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48 of 49 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ...another man's Hell
As 50-year old parents of an 18-year Autistic son, the better half and I sat down to watch "The Black Balloon" with an open mind. She thought it was honest, true to life and moving - I thought it was brutal, clinically exploitive and deeply hurtful.

First up - Autism doesn't sell - so the cover of the DVD slyly tries to pan it off as a teenage love story - when...
Published on 1 Feb 2009 by Mark Barry


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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Serious, 12 Feb 2009
By 
N. Gratton "Writer & Photographer" (Exeter) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Black Balloon [DVD] (DVD)
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The biggest drawback with this film is its lack of direction. The narrative meanders, and never is it clear where the film is going.

With that out the way, what do we have left? We see a family struggling with a seriously autistic older child, Charlie, through the eyes of his younger brother, Thomas. Thomas is struggling to fit in at a new school and initially resents the burden that his brother can be. When he meets pretty classmate Jackie, can her reactions to Charlie help Thomas come to terms with his situation?

Leaving aside the lack of a clear story, the script is tight and convincing and the acting flawless. The movie will also help raise understanding of those with Autism and similar conditions and the effect this can have on their families.

Far from perfect, but well worth watching.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth it in the end, 19 Feb 2009
By 
Maclennane (Horsham, Sussex) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Black Balloon [DVD] (DVD)
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This is a heart-warming, rewarding film about a struggling teenager, his autistic brother and his developing love life. And it starts as clunkily as you might imagine, with overplayed angst and heavily-drawn characters; but it settles down into excellent dialogue and good cinematography which has you properly caring by the end.

It's a good portrayal of the issues and a decent evening's viewing, but you have to survive the first fifteen minutes.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not to my tastes, 11 Feb 2009
By 
Sian Louise (UNITED KINGDOM) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Black Balloon [DVD] (DVD)
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I gave it a go, and even though I recognised nearly all the cast, I just couldnt get into it. I tried and made my way about 40 minutes into it.
Now don't get me wrong it wasnt the acting or the film itself..but its not my type of film which is why I couldnt get through it all..if you like this type of film then I think you will enjoy it.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful and Heartwarming, 4 Mar 2009
By 
Alessi Lover "C.A.D." (Knightley UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Black Balloon [DVD] (DVD)
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A delightful and heartwarming film.

Not a lot more positive things can be said about this film than has already been said by previous reviewers.

I was a little dubious when choosing this film as I thought it might be a little to forced in the acting or really overacted, but in no way is this the case. One of those that you are glad you did watch and no its not all doom and gloom and sadness throughout it all.

Our teenage daughter who missed it at the cinema when it was out, found it awesome and could understand what her friends had said about it (brilliant).

A film that is both for adults and teenagers.

I am not going to give away the plot of the film as after numerous reviews on this, it would seem as though I was just repeating it.

The one thing I have to say is that the portrayal of the character 'Charlie' the child who is autistic must have taken considerable hours of research by the film crew, and most likely time spent talking to parents/careers of those who have had first hand experience of living with a child who is autistic as the acting and the way in which the character is dealt is done in such an emotional manner.

A lovely film which does bring a lump to your throat, but then comes the tears of laughter too.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Top-rate performances from the leads, but lacking a strong storyline..., 24 Jan 2009
By 
M. Potter (Surrey United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Black Balloon [DVD] (DVD)
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As other reviewers had said, this is an at times hard film to watch.

The performances of the leading cast are first rate, especially Toni Collette (who plays the pregnant mother), Luke Ford (the autistic brother) and Rhys Wakefield (the 15 year old struggling with his love and devotion to his autistic brother set against his blossoming relationship with his new girlfriend, played by Gemma Ward).

The film successfully inter-twines humour with an at times sad and heartfelt storyline - you'll find it pulling at your heartstrings many times throughout. This is not a film for everyone - I think anyone who enyoys strong character performances will enjoy this film, but it's certainly not a typical feel-good movie.

The leading cast put in strong and believable performances, but I think they're let down by the script at times. For me, the storyline was just not strong-enough. The film gives you a brief glimps into the lives of the main characters, but doesn't have a strong enough structure for my liking. The ending comes slightly unexpectedly, almost as if the writers didn't know how to finish it.

So all in all an enjoyable film, with strong performances, but not one I could see myself watching again.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars worth investigating, 16 Feb 2009
This review is from: The Black Balloon [DVD] (DVD)
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"The Black Balloon" is an Australian film, that appears to be set in the late 80's / early 1990's, and deals with a family bringing up three children, one of whom is autistic, and the pressures this places on all their relationships, as well as those of school-friends(and interfering) neighbours. The film has shades of "The Virgin Suicides" in some of the cinematography, but not in the story.

"The Black Balloon" is fairly dark at times, especially with the frustration that eventually boils over between Thomas and his brother Charlie towards the end of the film. The most disturbing scene is probably when Charlie has an incident in a busy shop, and peoples silent, accusing stares, with no offers of help, as an ashamed Thomas is left to pay the bill.

The only let down is that the film just seems to end, with no real resolution, just as the viewer is getting to know 9and like) all the characters.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Harrowing yet absoring, 12 Feb 2009
By 
Amazon Customer (Newcastle, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Black Balloon [DVD] (DVD)
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As has already been mentioned in other reviews, you can feel how much personal love has been poured into the film, but it does tend to get quite harrowing at times. The acting is incredible, particularly Luke Ford (The Mummy 3) who plays the Autistic brother particularly well, which certainly dispels my previous impression after watching the third Mummy film where I wasn't entirely convinced he could act his way out of a paper bag. After watching Black Balloon I stand firmly corrected.

The main problem with the film, as with most films of this style, the plot never really gets anywhere. The film is about 2 hours long, and whilst there's a great attention to detail, there's just not really any kind of progress to the plot, which is a great shame given how well everything else has been pulled together.

Two stars for the overall plot, but 5 stars for the excellent cast.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Emotional Viewing, 26 Feb 2009
This review is from: The Black Balloon [DVD] (DVD)
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I was expecting Rain Man - i.e. pleasant viewing but predictable. This film is more emotional but not always in a pleasant way. As someone who deals with autism via my job, I agree with the other reviewers who have commented that the dance at the end wouldn't have been possible from someone with that type of autism.

However, technical observations aside, this is a good film. The happy ending leaves some questions unanswered but fits the bill perfectly when you want to watch an emotional film that has a foot in reality and is not all lovey-dovey.

It missed out on 5 stars because there was room in this film to cover more about autism in a positive way (therapies etc) and it's a shame it missed that.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Heartwarming and shocking, 27 Jan 2009
By 
Mr. B. Trotter "The Nightfly" (Broughton Gate, Buckinghamshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Black Balloon [DVD] (DVD)
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The story is based on a family dealing and living with a son with autism and how each member of the family grows and strengthens from this experience. it is one of the most true films with personal portrayals given by a splendid cast of actors.
Toni Collette is on top form, and the young Luke Ford gives an amazing performance as Charlie the severely autistic son.
I cannot conceive how anyone could keep their sanity when faced with such circumstances.
Funny and disturbing, and yet still ultimately heart-warming.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good, 18 Feb 2009
By 
Blue hunter (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Black Balloon [DVD] (DVD)
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I really like this film,at first i wasnt sure if i would like it as its not my usual type of film i like to watch but in the end i am glad i watched it......it has a good storyline and some good acting in it aswell and even though i hadnt heard of it before i am pleased that i have seen it.I would recommend this film to watch having a good mix of story and acting and flows very well.
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The Black Balloon [DVD]
The Black Balloon [DVD] by Elissa Down (DVD - 2009)
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