Tuesday, 12 February 2019

6 Balloons (2018)

I stumbled upon 6 Balloons while searching for films to add on my already very long watchlist on Netflix. It sounded interesting and it had Dave Franco so I decided to give it a chance. 

The story follows Katie (Abbi Jacobson) as she is finishing organizing a surprise party for her boyfriend, Jack (Dawan Owens). When she goes to pick her up brother, Seth (Dave Franco) and his young daughter, Ella, Katie finds out that Seth has relapsed on heroin, and embarks on a journey to help her brother while at the same time dealing with her own life. 

6 Balloons is one of those movies with very little plotting, one of those real drama movies you watch and don't care about the lack of a plot because they are compelling and deliver an important message. The problem with this film? While it shows how hard it can be to deal with someone who has an addiction, the message Marja-Lewis Ryan, director and writer, wants to deliver isn't always clear. On top of that, there's the voiceover of an audiobook that keeps playing that is quite annoying and distracts from and drags the main storyline. It's supposed to enrich the film with some philosophical message but it feels forced and only damages the film. 

The characters aren't particularly well written either. Katie's characterization doesn't go beyond the Type-A, she has this sudden change that doesn't make a lot of sense, and I just didn't empathize with her. Abbi Jacobson's acting also leaves something to be desired. While she does a nice job at portraying the struggle of a woman torn between her life and her drug addict brother,  and beautifully displays Katie's vulnerability, there's too much blank staring for her performance to be entirely compelling. The character of Seth isn't much better but Dave Franco's performance is actually good as he captures the struggle of a young man who wants to be kind, loving and clean, but just can't get his act together, and makes the character very believable.

Netflix
The performances aren't the only good thing about 6 Balloons. If I have to give Ryan credits for something, it'll have to be for keeping the drama at a minimum, without exaggerating it as Hollywood movies always do, and it really helps at conveying a feeling of authenticity. However, the pacing is too slow, some scenes are too long, some are pointless, and the film has some sort of empty vibe which made me feel very little emotion.

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