The Black Balloon | Chicago Reader

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Rated PG-13 · 2008

Cringe-inducing when it's not cliched, this brassy, vulgar 2008 comedy from Australia mines mental disabilities for laughs. Luke Ford (The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor) plays a young man, diagnosed with autism, who relieves himself in inappropriate places. The de facto tyrant of his family, he provokes the rage of his younger brother (TV actor Rhys Wakefield, oozing insincerity), who's embarking on a tentative romance with an implausibly sympathetic schoolmate (Gemma Ward of The Strangers). Toni Collette is believable as the lads' mother, who loves them unconditionally, but cinematographer Denson Baker makes the most notable contribution with his fine eye for backlighting and expressive close-ups. Elissa Down directed. PG-13, 97 min.
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Director: Elissa Down
Writer: Elissa Down and Jimmy Jack
Producer: Tristram Miall
Cast: Rhys Wakefield, Luke Ford, Toni Collette, Erik Thomson, Gemma Ward, Lloyd Allison-Young, Nathin Butler, Lisa Kowalski, Firass Dirani and Aaron Glennane

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