6 Balloons – Review

Genre Drama
Directed by Marja-Lewis Ryan
Starring Abbi Jacobson, Dave Franco, Charlotte Carel, Madeline Carel, Dawan Owens, Jen Tullock, Maya Erskine, Tim Matheson, Jane Kaczmarek
Released on March 12, 2018 (SXSW), April 6, 2018 (United States)
Duration 74 minutes
Flixxpanda Rating 8/10
Channel Netflix

6 Balloons is one of the most heart touching films I’ve seen recently. It’s about addiction and it’s a real eye-opener for those of us who’ve been lucky enough to never witness addiction or withdrawal in real life. It falls under the genre of drama, but it’s way more than that.

6 Balloons deals with addiction and the carnage it leaves behind in the most blunt way possible. It shows without sugarcoating how it affects loved ones. Dave Franco who plays Seth, a middle class man with a 4-year-old daughter. The fact that sets it apart from other films in the addiction genre, is that he’s not poor or homeless or lacking a family. Those are the people who generally become slaves to drugs. This proves to be a slap in the face to all the stereotypes and shows the stark reality of how anyone can become an addict.

Seth’s sister, Katie played by Abbi Jacobson is very controlling. She’s organizing a birthday party for her boyfriend, she constantly manipulates things to go her way. She’s not cruel, but she is very demanding and likes to be in control. When her brother fails to answer calls or show up to the party, she decides to go pick him up. At this point, it feels like she already has an inkling as to what is going on. She drives to his house and finds the mail stacked up outside and finds that he’s relapsed.

Katie takes his daughter and him in the car in search for a detox center. Seth isn’t a terrible human being, he agrees to go get clean. The dynamic between the two is so real and authentic that it often leaves a lump in your throat. There’s loving concern but also underlying frustration and tension. A lot of the film takes place in the car with Katie driving around frantically when Seth’s original detox clinic denies his insurance. As the tension mounts and things get messy with Seth suffering from withdrawal, he becomes a sweaty disgusting mess and it all happens in front of his incredibly young child.

6 Balloons is directed and written by Marja-Lewis Ryan, the fact that she decided to keep the daughter witness to all the gory details of withdrawal just shows how children get roped into things without consent and how addiction destroys their sense of innocence.  6 Balloons has a running time of only about 74 minutes, it’s too short.

Way too short, but 6 Balloons tells a story without any fancy editing or unnecessary subplots. Abbi Jacobson and Dave Franco predominantly play comedic roles, that’s their forte, for them to play characters so dark is a shock. It’s a happy surprise though, they both portray their characters with exceeding expectations.

There’s a scene in 6 Balloons where Katie ends up buying drugs for Seth just to stop the pain, she hopes it’ll be his last high, the last time he shoots up. Seth says it will be yet, a couple hours later he’s injecting in her car again. When Katie finds out, you can see how it’s a pivotal moment, she let’s go. She gives up and tells him the only way he’s going to get better is if he goes to rehab without her help. She leaves him, finally free. I feel like that’s just how life is, you can’t save everyone, not even the people you love. She relinquishes her control, steps out of the car, finally free.

Credit – Netflix | YouTube

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