The Black Balloon #Australian #AutismMovie


This is the 2008 Australian feature length film about a family with 2 teenage sons.

  • One severely Autistic
  • The other Neurotypical


The Black Balloon is an ‘in your face’ movie that pulls no punches and has no sugar coating.

  • Charlie, the Autistic son, is constantly taunted by the ‘normal’ boys in the neighborhood
  • Thomas is clearly very uncomfortable with this but has his ‘social’ tightrope to walk
  • Thomas is also clearly shown walking a very fine line domestically with his brother, away from the gaze of his ‘peers’

The film maker did however take the time to punctuate the film with some distinctly, authentic and wholly appropriate Australian humor.

The constant frustration and family strain from caring for a severely Autistic and physically strong teenage son comes across very well, but without judgement, at least none that I noticed.

There is however plenty of ‘projection’ of anger at the constant domestic chaos, between the non-Autistic family trio!

The Black Balloon has a fly-on-the-wall feel to it (not atypical of the Australian film genre) but in a way that doesn’t diminish the viewer’s objectivity.

I should also volunteer that I have no personal direct experience of severely autistic family members, so I expect there are important elements that I have missed and I would invite those with this experience to share their thoughts in the comments section.


Here’s the Official Australian trailer:



The entire movie has been uploaded on You tube:

Here’s the first segment of the film:



All of the other segments have been uploaded by Chloe Hill, except for part 7 which was uploaded by iMovieLand

Autism in Australian Cinema

This is the third feature length Australian Autism-themed film that I have reviewed, the other 2 being:

  • Somersault (2006) which includes Autism only as a subplot and as a juxtapose device
  • Mary and Max (2009) a clay animation film that examines Asperger’s Syndrome in considerable detail

What are you doing? is an Australian short documentary film, produced by ‘Autism Awareness’ and premiered in Sydney in July 2011





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