The Black Balloon

All teenage boys are aware that their true self is a bawling oaf who just wants to run down the street in his underpants and bang on pots in the backyard. The hero of this film is one step ahead, in a way, because his hidden, abject self is externalised in the form of his autistic brother. It’s a great film.

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5 responses to “The Black Balloon

  1. I just took my two kids to see it, it was wonderful.
    The 14 yr old said it was her favourite film evah.

    I loved the Bronze medallion strand…just lovely. Yes, a great film.

  2. The long crane shot of all the kids doing their livesaving team exercise in the pool is one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen in a cinema in ages.

  3. I think it’s very pessimistic and downgrading to say that “All teenage boys are aware that their true self is a bawling oaf who just wants to run down the street in his underpants and bang on pots in the backyard.” I think that sentence is also downgrading Charlie, who has a condition that he cannot help and probably would never want. Not only will Charlie(in a real life situation) be running down the street in his underpants and bang on pots while he’s a teenager, he’ll be doing that for the rest of his life. And Charlie’s younger brother, Thomas, will be dealing with that behaviour for the rest of HIS life, which even if he possibly felt like behaving the same at any time, he won’t feel like that for the rest of his life. I’m guessing by Thomas’s age though, society would have instilled the embarrassment of behaving like such an “oaf”, and having an autistic brother would have rid any need he had to behave like that. That Thomas joined him near the end in the back yard, I thought represented his acceptance of his older brother and Thomas’s knowledge that he will always need to be there to help, support and protect him (especially from nosy neighbours!). It was an incredibly moving film about the need for family- there was no hidden abject self that Thomas wanted to act like his autistic brother at all.

  4. It is a very moving film. It gets a lot of its power from the fact that it isn’t just about the “need for family”: it is at least as much about the fact that family life can be a nightmarish prison.

  5. Yes, you’re right. It cleverly shows not only the need for family and its support but that your family is just what you get, whether you want it or not. It shows a realistic view on life really, as many situations in life can be both good and bad.

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