Amazon Holiday

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Black Balloon

Q: What’s the movie about?

A: An Australian coming of age drama about a teenage boy (Rhys Wakefield) who tries to lead a normal life, despite the fact that his older brother (Luke Ford) has autism and ADD.

Q: Who’s in the movie?

A: Rhys Wakefield, Luke Ford, Toni Collette, Erik Thomson, Gemma Ward, Firass Dirani

Q: Is this movie worth the price of admission?

A: PhotobucketProceed with Caution. It's beautiful to watch how this family stands by each other as chaos ensues all around them due to their uncontrollable autistic son, but unless you have similarities to the people and situations in the story, their pain isn't always that relatable.

Q: Will this movie make me laugh?

A: Only if you think it's okay to laugh at retarded people acting retarded. Which, of course, you don't.

Q: Will this movie make me cry?

A: The person I saw it with cried, but I asked her why, and her reasons were personal. No, I swear, I'm not telling.

Q: Will this movie be up for any awards?

A: It won some Australian Award for writing, but their film industry is pretty small, so I can't vouch for how important that is.

Q: How is the Acting?

A: The two young leads, Rhys Wakefield and Gemma Ward, are very easy on the eyes and will probably have big careers ahead of them. The two boys playing the autistic kids are of more questionable talent, but since I don't have any first hand experience with autistic kids, it's hard for me to judge how accurately they were portrayed. All I can do is refer you back to Tropic Thunder, where we learned that it's never a safe bet to go full-retard.

Q: How is the Directing?

A: Elissa Down is young, cute, and would do well in a meeting-- in other words, she has what it takes to slowly chip away at that oh-so-lopsided ratio of female to male directors. The fact that she cut her teeth doing 6 short films before tackling her first feature (that's 5 more than most people do), proves that she means business. And the added bonus that she's already attracting talent like Toni Collette, should give her some pull if she plans to make her move to the Hollywood studios.

Q: How is the story/script?

A: Some interesting arenas are tackled but not pinned. The script is subtle, and the beats are hit, but there's not quite enough of an emotional spine pulling you through, from incident to incident as the autistic boy acts out and the normal boy suffers for it.

Q: Is there anything else worth mentioning about the movie?

A: This is the second film I've seen in the last two days containing a graphic poop scene. Please don't let this become a movie-making trend. Nobody wants to see that.

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