Oh did I ever enjoy this film. It was a wonderful slow time with several characters that I thoroughly enjoyed. I write slow on purpose, to set the viewer's expectations. This film moves along at a rythm that is very particular, very deliberate, and, to me and my family, perfect. There is a subtlty here that either draws you in deeply, or pushes you far away. I can't see a middle ground with The Flight Of The Red Balloon.
Two adults, a 12 and 17 year old agree that this is a wonderful engrossing film.
The most important point about Flight is the film production. I'm certain most reviewers have missed the fact that cut to cut time averages well over 3 minutes, maybe more like 5 to 10. The shots are very long, and a lot of character development and story progress happens in each long take. Compare that to the average film shots are rarely more than 10 seconds, and long is 20 seconds. Anyone that has seen this film once, should watch the film again and pay attention to when cuts are made in the film. It's incredible the choreography that had to take place for this to work.
I felt like this was two hours spent with some wonderful people, a boy, his mother, a nanny, a neighbor, and a host of minor characters. People float in and out of this movie just as they do in real life. The story isn't resolved, just like in real life. But the path these characters follow is interesting and pleasing.
The connection with the fabulous movie Red Balloon, it's a bit tenuous. There's homage in here, that's critical to understand. It's homage in the film sense, a director does things in a similar way or uses cues that make us think of the other film. The single most important homage to me, shot length and rythm of the original Red Balloon. The director used this aspect to perfection. It's NOT a continuation or retelling. Anyone searching for that will be sadly very dissappointed with this film. The Red Balloon (Released by Janus Films, in association with the Criterion Collection)
The director did a lot with reflected images in glass. Early on it's very hard to tell if we are looking at the person directly, or a reflection. As the camera pulls back or a person moves, we discover it was a reflection all along. Another significant point is when we start to see a character seeing themselves reflected (a two shot with the reflection being the second image). The two shot doesn't appear until much later in the film - when we start to see more of the red balloon.
Juliette Binoche, Song, and the young boy are fabulous actors. They have an incredible charm that I enjoyed very much.
Whatever this film is rated is probably wrong - this is a PG film, sutiable for any audience. Because it's subtitled (and there is no English track), a child would need to read well to watch the film.
The DVD has no bonus features of any kind. It is simply the movie with original French soundtrack, and English / Spanish subtitles.
By the way, the quality of the subtitles / translation is really awful. There are a lot of nuiances in the French that the subtitle company missed badly.
There is another way to watch this film, there are some gorgeous images of Paris streets. The light is beautiful. The scenes outdoor scenes are wonderful. Anyone that loves Paris, will likely love this film.
If you appreciate character development, discovery, subtlty in a film, and real live rythm, you will enjoy this film. It is also worth watching several times. As another reviewer and I have pointed out, there is a lot going on in this film. And it's impossible to understand it all in one single viewing.