Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Black Balloon

The debut film by Elissa Down is hard to watch because of the story it tells; but the film has average tech specs and performances, except for Toni Collette that plays Maggie Mollison and Luke Ford that plays her son Charlie.

The film tells the story from teenager Thomas Mollinson point-of-view, showing that all Thomas wants is to have a normal adolescence that becomes absolutely impossible when his pregnant mother (Toni Collette) has a difficult pregnancy and he has to take care of his autistic older brother Charlie Mollinson (Luke Ford).

The story is really heartwarming and not that much melodramatic as is centered on the healthy boy life. According to what I read Elissa Down, who co wrote the script, grew up with two autistic brothers that in my opinion definitively helped her to craft a very touching and realistic portrait of how it could be living with a young and autistic person during your teenage years.

Most of the buzz this movie had was because top-model Gemma Ward plays Jackie Masters, the love interest of Thomas; but I find her performance very unrealistic as she looks and behaves a lot older than what her character was supposed to be in the story.

The film was premiered at the 2008 Berlinale where won the Crystal Bear for Best Feature in the Generation14 program.

This is a film that I recommend only to those that like family and teen oriented serious dramas as will touch and perhaps trouble you with a difficult to watch story.

Maybe if the Thomas and Jackie characters would have been played by better actors I could have enjoyed the movie, as it was hard for me to take my eyes from excellent Luke Ford performance as Charlie -that was almost in every scene- that in my opinion stole the complete movie. Obviously this made the movie a lot harder and more troubled for me to watch.

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