Representations of Family, Teens, Disability and Suburban Australia

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Elissa Down, Director of the movie The Black Balloon, shows the viewer about the representations of family, teens, disability and suburban Australia and how they all fit into each other and are not single representations, but are under one big heading. From the start of the movie we are introduced to the Mollison’s, a family of four but with one on the way, within the first minute of meeting this family we see that they are not a normal working-class Australian family. The Mollison’s have an autistic son called Charlie, who is not your average teenage boy. Not only does Charlie suffer from autism but also has many behavioral problems as he has ADHD. The day to day lives of the Mollison family are centered on the well-being of Charlie, as he is very unpredictable and emotionally unstable; these characteristics create a feeling of embarrassment and disappointment for the remaining members of Charlie’s family. Although the Mollison’s are quite dysfunctional at times and are nearly torn apart by nosy neighbours, they still hold the values of relationships and unity as the conflicts throughout the film make the family stronger overall.

Throughout the movie, we see that it is represented as a coming of age story. The plot shows us that coming of age is the transition from adolescence to adulthood for the central character Thomas (played by Rhys Wakefield). As a normal teenage boy Thomas goes to school, is interested in the latest music and even has his eye on some members of the opposite sex. We see that he has to live alongside his brother Charlie, which who he doesn’t like to be seen with or have any affiliation with. This affects his relationship with his parents as most of their attention is focused on Charlie and a lot of this responsibility is left to Thomas which makes him resent his brother and wish he were normal, although Jackie helps Thomas realise that Charlie is never going to be normal and that ultimately, he has to accept his disability. We see Thomas...
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