The Black Balloon And The Theme Of Prejudice And Its Impact Of The Family
Elissa down’s film, The Black Balloon, shows how prejudices and judgments can have a devastating effect on family life. Down shows how prejudice can affect a family’s life. The Mullisons live in an unfriendly area that demonstrates this. The negative implications that can be drawn from judging one’s family are also highlighted. This is most evident in Thomas’s struggles with Charlie. Down’s movie demonstrates the fragility and strength of one’s acceptance. Thomas can turn to Jackie for guidance in accepting his brother.
Thomas experiences social exclusion as well as prejudgment from his family’s generation. This has a major impact on Thomas’ happiness and social acceptance in his new neighborhood. The Mullison family is confronted by prejudices from neighbors as they move into their new community. They start to see the Mullison family as being “spastic” and begin to hold a negative view. They keep their distance from the Mullison family and express their disapproval towards them because they are different. Thomas is subject to cruelty from his schoolmates. Thomas is alienated by Down using Mid-shots. This is when Thomas is standing in front of his peers at school and is wearing a uniform that is different to the rest. This shows the unaccepting nature of his peers. The Black Balloon demonstrates the constant challenge Thomas faces due to rejection based upon preconceived family dynamics. Thomas is constantly struggling because he has not been embracing Charlie. It is evident that Thomas doesn’t want to have anything to do or with Charlie. The majority of the film portrays him as wishing he was not (his) younger brother. Thomas’ negative outlook towards Charlie causes him pain and makes it difficult for himself. These problems include the birthday fight scenes and poo-smearing. Thomas tries his best to conceal that Charlie is his older brother. This represents Thomas’ outside life and Thomas’ struggle to keep Charlie away from it. Although they acknowledged that it was initially difficult, the Mullisons were happy to accept Charlie and found it easier to work with Charlie. Thomas’s father, Thomas, says that if you don’t care for your family, you’re piss-weak. This makes a powerful impact on the viewers. Down shows Thomas understanding and realizing that it is wrong to not want Charlie. Down shows how accepting one’s relatives can have positive results. This is illustrated when Thomas and Charlie share their bath together and are smiling and laughing. Thomas needed to be aided in accepting Charlie.
Down shows us that accepting yourself is not an easy task. Sometimes, however, it’s necessary to be able to accept the flaws of those around you and to help them. This theme is highlighted when Thomas embraces Charlie with the help Jackie. Thomas tries to keep Charlie from his school peers. He shoves Charlie in his bedroom hoping that no one will see Thomas’ true family life. Thomas eventually discovers that his brother is autistic. Down uses Jackie to guide Thomas, who learns that Charlie’s “not changing”. Down takes Charlie, Thomas and Jackie through an obstacle-course in the middle. This is used as a symbol of the inner struggles of all the characters. However, it is common in Thomas’ struggle for acceptance. The characters overcome the obstacles and find their way to the end, just as Thomas does with Charlie. Thomas’s self-improvement and maturity are also shown through his age and birthday. Down uses this scene to show that Thomas is growing and accepting Charlie. The reconciliation scene between the brothers is the final one. Close-ups show Thomas’ conflicted emotions of nostalgia and discomfort. Contrary to what the film portrays, it ends with a happy and heartwarming ending. Thomas finally accepts his brother for who they are, thanks to Jackie’s guidance and assistance.
The Black Balloon explores how prejudice can be caused by different family dynamic. Down also highlights the problems that can be caused by judging one’s own family. Thomas wanting nothing to do Charlie causes stress and unnecessary fighting. Thomas comes to terms with Charlie after the help of others.