Water flows pure,

even in the hardest times

Symbolism of water in the film 'The Black Balloon'

‘The Black Balloon’ film directed by Elissa Dow displays several of key themes that depict the characters and how they change throughout the film. The key themes that are portrayed in this film demonstrate a wide range of symbolism, metaphors and film techniques that are used to portray the important message of the family to the audience. When Thomas learns how to swim and can stay above water, this represents his ability to handle his life, his responsibilities and letting go of his fears and doubts.
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Thomas who is turning 16 has just moved into a town in New South Wales and his dad is in the army, his mother is pregnant, his older brother Charlie is autistic and Thomas has his own adolescent sexual issues. Thomas finds his brother Charlie disconcerting to the public and when Thomas starts to develop somewhat of a feeling towards Jackie, a girl in his swimming class, Jackie teaches Thomas how to swim and in turn teaching him how to accept Charlie, his autistic brother. Water also symbolizes fear in this film because it refers to the hidden mind and the qualities that the main characters have which they develop throughout the film. Water as a symbol in the film has been represented and is a metaphor based around Thomas's life which helps the audiences understand and comprehend Thomas's feeling. Water is represented as freedom and escape, and this film uses it as a symbol displaying various scenes that show the symbolism of water. The symbolism of water is shown in this film in several of ways and good example of scenes that show the symbolism of water is the bath sequence, the surfer on television, and the pool sequence.


Water plays a key theme in this film because not only does it depict on the characters but it also revolves around the characters life itself. Symbolically, the symbolism of water has a general feeling of clarity and abundance and is often seen as a source of life for the characters in this film ‘The Black Balloon.’ An example about the symbolism of water in society today is about how babies are learning how to swim at the age of 1. They learn how to stay above water and as they grow up, they will have the knowledge of knowing how to swim when they're drowning.


I chose to write about this topic because it was an interesting topic and to be honest it was a challenging topic for me to write about. There were scenes that displayed the symbolism of water and how it affected and changed the characters throughout the film. I believe Thomas has developed most in the film because we as the audience get to visualise what Thomas is going through and how he learns how to face his fears. Water is an important symbol in this film because it has a lot of meaning behind it and it is one of the key themes. I chose the images because it really tells the reader that water as a symbolism can represent many things and what I’m trying to say in the topic. All the images that I chose are displayed and they show the symbolism of water because my topic that I’m writing about is about water.


-Julie Nguyen