Lisa Schwarzbaum
December 03, 2008 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Black Balloon

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
PG-13
runtime
97 minutes
Limited Release Date
12/05/08
performer
Toni Collette, Luke Ford, Rhys Wakefield
director
Elissa Down
distributor
NeoClassics Films
author
Elissa Down, Jimmy Jack
genre
Drama

We gave it a B-

Toni Collette gives it the old Little Miss Sunshine try in The Black Balloon as an edge-of-kooky, very pregnant mama presiding over a chaotic household. But instead of a drolly drug-taking gramps, this Australian feel-good autism dramedy champions Charlie (Luke Ford), a sweet but seriously disruptive young man. Director and co-writer Elissa Down, who grew up with autistic ? siblings, hints at real exhaustion amid all her movie’s Down Under jauntiness. Charlie’s condition is particularly hard on his younger brother, Thomas (Rhys Wakefield), especially as he negotiates his first teenage romance, with a girl of dewy, supermodel beauty played by dewy supermodel Gemma Ward. B?

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