The Black Balloon – Movie Review

Here is a story of autism within the chaotic unpredictabilty of family life. Charlie is an island within the swirling maelstrom of an extraverted family unit consisting of soldier Dad, heavily pregnant Mum, and younger brother Thomas. Fifteen year old Thomas is the protagonist and we largely see the delights and challenges of living with the autism spectrum through Thomas’ eyes. The bulk of responsibility for managing Charlie’s care falls on Thomas and the film holds nothing back as we see Thomas and Charlie riding the waves of neighbourhood misunderstanding, peer group scorn, and frustration that becomes so overwhelming that it occassionally erupts in uncontrollable violence. Such occasions are episodic in a family that cares deeply for each of its members, but a climactic incident at Thomas’ sixteenth birthday celebration brings him to a fresh level of realisation that living with Charlie is more about “going with the flow” rather than, motivated by his wish for Charlie to be “normal”, trying to improve his condition . The story is powerfully told, hopefully heralding a wider community understanding of the dynamics of families living with autism, and an encouragement for those families who are prone to feel isolated by this disorder. See here for the official movie site, or see the trailer here.

Published by wonderingpilgrim

Okay Boomer - that I am. But not one of them know-it-all ones! Still learning that the more I know, the more I have yet to learn. What I do know, however, I know well.

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