Director: Elissa Down
Writer: Jimmy Jack, Elissa Down
Starring: Toni Collette, Rhys Wakefield, Luke Ford, Erik Thomson, Gemma Ward, Jonathan Nguyen
Released: March 6, 2008
Rating: (M)
Runtime: 93 minutes
Websites:
Story: The Black Balloon is a story about fitting in, discovering love, and accepting your family.

It's not easy being Thomas. He's turning sixteen; and moving into a new house, and school. His older brother Charlie announces their arrival to the neighbours by banging a wooden spoon and wailing on the front lawn. Charlie doesn't speak. He's autistic and has ADD. He's also unpredictable, sometimes unmanageable, and often disgusting. Thomas hates his brother but wishes he didn't.

The Mollisons are an army family; but it's not what you'd call a regimented life, or even a regular household. Thomas's cricket-obsessed father, Simon, talks to his teddy. Simon and Maggie are openly intimate, and now Maggie is going to have another baby.

One morning, the semi-naked Charlie escapes the house and leads Thomas on a chase across the neighbourhood. Charlie bursts into a stranger's house to use the toilet; and Thomas finds himself face to face with Jackie Masters, his gawky but fascinating new classmate. The trouble is she's in the shower.

Maggie has complications with her pregnancy and becomes bedridden. Thomas and Simon between them take on Charlie's daily routine; and Thomas experiences the less savoury aspects of coping with his brother. What he didn't bargain for was the shit-smearing, shopping centre tantrums, and riding in the Autistic School bus. It's sink or swim; and Thomas is drowning.

The truth is he is literally. The school swimming lessons are a nightmare, because Thomas has never got beyond doggie paddle. Then Thomas is partnered with Jackie for basic life-saving; and Jackie swims like a fish. It's only when they get to mouth-to-mouth resuscitation that things pick up and young love blossoms between the two well, three, because Charlie is also entranced by the pretty girl.

Thomas's birthday dinner turns into a nightmare. Pent-up frustrations about his brother pour out that are both confronting and ultimately heart-warming.
Cast:
Rhys Wakefield Thomas Mollison
Luke Ford Charlie Mollison
Toni Collette Maggie Mollison
Erik Thomson Simon Mollison
Gemma Ward Jackie Masters
Lloyd Allison-Young James
Nathin Butler Chris
Firass Dirani Russell
Sally Evans Girl on Bus
Aaron Glennane Bucko
Lisa Kowalski Sally
Andy Meritakis Daniel
Jonathan Nguyen Tyler
Henry Nixon Trevor
Ngoc Phan Teacher's Aide