Hey folks, Valkor here. You know the first film I reviewed from Australia, a mockumentary called Lake Mungo, well it scared the hell out of me until I realized that it actually WAS a mockumentary (damn good job of making it look and feel real). That was a good film, but I think this next one, while not scary at all, blows it out of the water and by far ranks as one of the best films I've seen this year. Check out "The Black Balloon".
The story of the The Black Balloon revolves around Thomas (Rhys Wakefield), who's just a kid that wants a normal life. His father Simon (Erik Thomson), is a military man and takes advice from a stuffed bear. His mom Maggie (Toni Collette) is pregnant and a bit of a take charge kinda gal (and in that household, she may as well be). But most important of all, there's Charlie (Luke Ford). Charlie is autistic and can't speak, except in sign language. He gets into all sorts of messes, which to Thomas is embarrassing. All Thomas ever wants is for his brother to be normal so that he could have a normal life. Well he gets a sweet, sweet taste of it in the form of Jackie (Gemma Ward), his classmate who is also drop dead gorgeous. But Thomas is uneasy being around her, especially when Charlie is around. And I'd be too since every time this gal hangs out with him, something goes horribly wrong. For starters, Charlie walks into her house, uninvited, to use the bathroom... while Jackie is in the shower. When she tries to return Charlie's hat, she steps into teh house in the midst of Thomas and family, cleaning up Charlie's… uhhh mess. UGH!!! When things seems to be going ok her and Thomas, and as the three are walking home, Charlie reaches into Jackie's bag and puts one of Jackie's Tampons in his mouth (but Jackie gets the last laugh with "at least it wasn't a used one" NICE). Finally, during Thomas's birthday party, Charlie decides to whack off in front of Jackie… and well Thomas just can't take it anymore. The two fight it out, but even after the fight, the yelling, the screaming, EVERYTHING, Jackie still stands by him. Now that's true love. And in the Thomas realizes he truly loves his brother and learns a big lesson in all this – Charlie will never be normal and that's not always a bad thing.
Best movie of the year by far. And I've seen Iron Man 2.
First off the story, can't go wrong with it, it's perfect from start to end. All it is is just one boy accepting his brother and wanting him to be normal. We follow Thomas from day to day and how he handles each situation, and you know what? It's real and very believable. The acting is fantastic, with Rhys Wakefield leading the pack. You could feel his pain, his angst, and finally his joy at the end. Gemma Ward is funny as she is beautiful, and I love the fact that she looks kinda prissy, but when she talks it's pretty straightforward and fun. Then there's Erik Thomson as Simon, another great performance, especially when he's talking to or about Rex (by the way, great ending line). Mom, Maggie, Mollison aka Toni Collette deserves some accolades as well, though not heavily present in the film. When she's there, you just know it. Finally we have Luke Ford as Charlie. I'm not sure if he's for real or acting, but he did a DAMN GOOD JOB, I'm talkin never getting out of character, Dustin Hoffman "Rain Man" good. Finally I wanna give it up to the ending which really rounds things out and brings it all home full circle. Plus the Noah's Ark musical was quite enjoyable. I dare you to say you didn't laugh when Thomas joined Charlie on stage as a monkey. Great stuff!
Charlie playing in his own shit. UGH!!!!
The Black Balloon was released in Australia in 2008, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy it now. It's a great, feel good story worthy of repeat performances. And out of TOV 5 stars, I give "The Black Balloon" 5 stars. And it's been Valkor tested and TOV Approved.