By Lisa Schwarzbaum
Updated December 03, 2008 at 05:00 AM EST

Toni Collette gives it the old Little Miss Sunshine try in The Black Balloon as an edge-of-kooky, very pregnant mama presiding over a chaotic household. But instead of a drolly drug-taking gramps, this Australian feel-good autism dramedy champions Charlie (Luke Ford), a sweet but seriously disruptive young man. Director and co-writer Elissa Down, who grew up with autistic ? siblings, hints at real exhaustion amid all her movie’s Down Under jauntiness. Charlie’s condition is particularly hard on his younger brother, Thomas (Rhys Wakefield), especially as he negotiates his first teenage romance, with a girl of dewy, supermodel beauty played by dewy supermodel Gemma Ward. B?

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