CCI 2019: Balloon is a Mature and Poignant Take on the Superman Myth


Though it is just a short film Balloon packs a lot of punch. Somewhere between Brightburn and Smallville it tales a moving tale of a young boy dealing with being different in a harsh world.

It’s almost a shame that Brightburn pre-dates Balloon because Balloon is undoubtedly the superior movie. Clocking in at just 18 minutes the film deals with violence and masculinity at school. For fourteen-year-old Sam (Jonah Beres, Hulu’s PEN15), surviving junior high means staying below radar. But that becomes impossible after he becomes the target of the school’s next viral video. He’s pressured to “hit back,” but Sam isn’t so sure-even if he does have super powers.

The film starts off with a warning. An school police officer (Paul Scheer, playing against type) starts out by warning a group of junior high students what to do in case of an armed shooter. The kids are so numb to the idea of a shooter in the school no one seems fazed by the thought that it could happen to them. Even in the midst of the drill Sam gets bullied for being weak and being gay and, for most of the film, simply takes it.

But his Superman-like powers soon manifest putting him on the brink of violence. With super powers he now has the potential to fight back and do serious damage. He will be the bullied outcast no more. Where the film takes that premise is both mature and enlightening. In fact it’s rather refreshing after the violence of Brightburn, a film with almost the same plot, to see a more optimistic (albeit still very grounded) approach to modern day super powers.

Screening Date

Comic-Con International Independent Film Festival

Saturday, July 20th at 12:15 PM

San Diego Marriott Marquis – Grand Ballroom 6 

Followed by a Q&A with cast and crew