6 Balloons is a film that shows what a sibling is willing to give up in order to save the other sibling.
Abbi Jacobson and Dave Franco star as a pair of siblings, Katie and Seth. The latter of which has a two-year-old daughter, Ella, and is being sent off to detox yet again for his heroine problem. It’s July and when she could be doing anything else, she’s driving him around Los Angeles with the hopes of finding a detox center that can take him. It’s probably not the best decision that they dragged his daughter around with them.
The film, written and directed by Marja-Lewis Ryan, is one that tackles the problem of drug addiction but also what happens when a family member is helping and enabling said addiction. Addiction is no laughing matter and the film displays the effect that it has on the families of those involved. It’s something that comes through beautifully–maybe not the best word to describe it–in 6 Balloons. This could be because it comes off as a very personal film for both Ryan and producer Samantha Housman.
Seth’s living situation isn’t the greatest. His voice mailbox is full and there is mail all over the floor at his place. If one didn’t know that he’s a drug addict, one could easily assume that he might be a slob. It’s so easy to buy into Dave Franco as Seth. There’s a sense that one gets while watching him act that he’s the type of person whose perfect for the role. This isn’t to suggest that he would be in a bad place like his character.
While Abbi Jacobson is best known for her comedic work, she follows in the path of many comedians before her in taking on a dramatic role. It’s a role that pays off for the Broad City veteran because she delivers a heck of a performance as that caring sister who gives up EVERYTHING for her brother. A performance like this will hopefully lead to other directors taking a chance on getting the dramatic side of Jacobson. When Broad City does come to an eventual end, Jacobson will still have a bright career ahead of her. Credit to director Marja-Lewis Ryan for taking a chance on the sketch comedian in a dramatic role.
Having sketch comedians Maya Erskine, Dawan Owens, and Jen Tullock in the cast help to complement the Broad City actress’s work in the film. When comedians have shared sensibilities, they’re able to bring out the best work among their fellow actors.
6 Balloons isn’t an easy watch but the drama is one that shouldn’t be lost in the queue of films.
DIRECTOR/SCREENWRITER: Marja-Lewis Ryan
CAST: Abbi Jacobson, Dave Franco, Charlotte Carel, Madeline Carel, Maya Erskine, Dawan Owens, Jen Tullock, Lisa Bierman, Pierce Minor, Heidi Sulzman, with Tim Matheson and Jane Kaczmarek
Following its world premiere at the 2018 SXSW Film Festival, Netflix will release 6 Balloons on April 6, 2016