A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Turn a setback into a comeback. When one door closes, another door opens. A friend in need is a friend indeed.
Positive Role Models
Bill Costen made history as the first African American hot air balloon master pilot. The film’s director is Costen’s daughter Chantal Potter, who considers her dad a hero. In recognition of Costen’s more than 40 years of safe flying, he received an award from the Balloon Federation of America.
Violence & Scariness
Reportedly kids are whipped as a form of discipline for bad behavior. Costen is shown holding a rifle in his hands in an old photograph. References to the Ku Klux Klan.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
References to dating, kissing, and flirting at college-related events and after-work parties.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Sponsorship logos on balloons; labels on bottles and cans of alcohol beverages; and clothing bearing words or names. Balloon official claims that green is the only color that matters.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Costen admits that he's a fan of beer. He also mentions sitting in a bar. Costen speaks about his shyness and need for a few nips in order to speak with a woman. Consumption of cans and bottles of beer and champagne. Discussion about people getting drunk. Crowds toasting.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Balloon Man is a documentary about the life of Bill Costen, a former NFL player who reinvented himself. Costen made history as the first Black hot air balloon master pilot. When he was 9 years old, Costen's mother died. References to the Ku Klux Klan. Images include brand names and logos on balloons, beer bottles and cans, and wording on clothing. There's a discussion about getting drunk, scenes of toasting, and an image of drinking from a champagne bottle. Reportedly, kids were whipped as a form of discipline for bad behavior. A rifle appears in a photo. There are references to kissing and flirting. Balloon Man includes the powerful themes of compassion, courage, and perseverance. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Debut documentary filmmaker Chantal Potter offers a loving and engaging tribute to her dad Bill Costen. "From the year I was born, I was flying," says Potter, who traveled with the Costen balloon crew as a child. "I remember looking through a tiny peephole of a large wicker basket with the entire world beneath my feet." She reveals the roots of the Costen family in Omaha, Nebraska with a skillful blend of insightful interviews, flashback footage, and photos from the past. Costen fondly recalls moments of his life as a young boy and time spent at his grandmother's house and church. He also remembers going to an all-Black grade school where African American history wasn't taught. The memory created a new endeavor for Costen and a way of giving back to others. The balloonist tours with an exhibit of his African American memorabilia. Costen says that "it's amazing how many Black kids have no idea of their heritage." Because of films such as Balloon Man, kids may become more aware of their heritage.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.