Review: The Black Balloon

I watched an excellent Australian film tonight called The Black Balloon.

Plot description from IMDB: All Thomas wants is a normal adolescence but his autistic brother, Charlie, thwarts his every opportunity. Will Thomas, with the help of his girlfriend, Jackie, accept his brother?

If you like coming of age stories or portraits of complicated but loving families, you should seek it out. The subject matter is serious but the film is never depressing because Down & Jack’s script expertly balances humor with pathos. I know I’ll remember many scenes for a long time, perhaps forever. Down is a director to watch! (I want to track down her first film, Pink Pyjamas. Has anyone seen it?)

I loved the way the romance between the teen leads, Jackie and Thomas, was handled. It’s sweet and naive in an authentic way that’s rarely captured in films (with the exception of last year’s Flipped). Above all, I loved that Jackie and Thomas were simply good for each other. Jackie is a great character, in general, and a bit of a rarity for a love interest. She’s a spunky, fun girl that you’d love to know but she isn’t a dreaded Manic Pixie Dream Girl. She’s the laid back cool girl I wish I’d been in high school.

All in all, a touching and fun story.

How did this not get more buzz? Was I just under a rock?

Appropriate for older teens.

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