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The Black Balloon2012

  • 3.6
While trying to move forty kids six blocks in New York City alone, a stressed man accidentally loses a bouquet of a hundred balloons. In that bouquet, a lone black balloon scurries free. It dies and comes back to life, returning to the city cruising for a companion. On the beat, it learns that humans are complicated creatures with extreme highs and lows, but full of life nonetheless. An intended-for-children film turned sci-fi urban fable, this is a story about THE BLACK BALLOON.

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"[O]utright fantasy collides with urban docu-realism to capture the magical energy and spirit that gives New York City its timelessly unique heartbeat." - Michael Tully, Hammer to Nail


2 members like this review

Despite the headline "Black Balloon" isn't trying to be a New York movie (not every movie does, even one from the Safdies); it's a movie about people and a balloon. After two viewings I prefer to think of it as a low-key cousin of "Rubber": wronged by society, the vengeful balloon aids and abets roguish characters in their misdeeds. Maybe the balloon starts out an observer or maybe it's trying out its dark ideas on others, but however it gets there, by the end of the film it has unapologetically seized its own destiny by the string.

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top reviewer

Member Reviews (6)

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top reviewer

Despite the headline "Black Balloon" isn't trying to be a New York movie (not every movie does, even one from the Safdies); it's a movie about people and a balloon. After two viewings I prefer to think of it as a low-key cousin of "Rubber": wronged by society, the vengeful balloon aids and abets roguish characters in their misdeeds. Maybe the balloon starts out an observer or maybe it's trying out its dark ideas on others, but however it gets there, by the end of the film it has unapologetically seized its own destiny by the string.

2 members like this review
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top reviewer

I agree. NYC is the setting but that's just a bonus. Black balloon, to me, seems genuinely interested in the few characters he runs across during his time of Great Meandering. Although he's a bit of an airhead. Oops.

This is an incredibly ambiguous, but fascinating "fable." The black balloon can seem at times to be a black cloud of gloom, but I think it actually is a sympathetic human fellow who longs for freedom. It is a melancholy hope, lost, subtle, and unknown in the massive crowds of New York. This short film captures the alienation of being in trashy, downtrodden New York City very well, for even the most surprising of beings goes by almost totally ignored in the jaded, ever-moving swarms of people trapped on the ground. Unlike the beautiful short the Red Balloon, these balloons are not just symbols of human purity and better feelings, but characters in themselves. The fuzzy mucky music reflects the unwanted, yet edgy nature of black balloons, light and heavy at the same time. They rise above it all, longing for liberty despite jagged peril. With the documentary style, yet surreal nature of it all, this short takes on an aspect of magic realism.

1 member likes this review
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top reviewer

probably an ecological horror_all those loose balloons_dead fish dead animals_well maybe it's not so bad_i think the black balloon is pretty talented_and i like the 2 girls too_don't care about the rest of it

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top reviewer

Lighthearted yet slightly edgy fun. Nice music. Very enjoyable.

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top reviewer

bitter sweet and romantic, nicely done.

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This movie's idea, borrowed a little from the classic Red Balloon, is a missed opportunity. It captures some interesting moments. It has a curiously pedestrian admiration for New York City which startled me since the city has so many opportunities for glorious adventure. But occasionally there are moments of fiction and documentary. The choice of imagery here suggests that you could have A Black Balloon in any American city and that ultimately is its losing card.