Cher & The Loneliest Elephant
By Sabrina McFarland,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Pop legend lends stardom to dynamic animal rescue docu.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Creating change through collaboration. Helping those who cannot help themselves.
Positive Role Models
Several diverse individuals set out to help free Kaavan, a bull elephant living under poor conditions at a Pakistani zoo. Veterinarian Samar Khan creates a social media campaign on Kaavan's behalf. Global superstar Cher notices, and establishes #freethewild, a nonprofit animal rights organization. In addition, Cher records a song about the elephant's plight called "Walls." She also reaches out for assistance and guidance from friend and business executive Mark Cowne, as well as elephant rescuer Lek Chailert (Love & Bananas: An Elephant Story). Amir Khalil, veterinarian and an official at Four Paws animal rescue group, is called upon to help relocate Kaavan. Cher and Dr. Khalil comfort Kaavan by singing to him the Frank Sinatra hit song "My Way."
Violence & Scariness
Mentions that Kaavan is a dangerous bull elephant who has killed two keepers. Claim of baby elephants being beaten. Archival footage of another elephant who has died of gangrene due to chains wrapped around legs. Other images include Kaavan constrained with chains on his feet, striking a human with his trunk, destruction of a travel crate due to Kaavan's aggressive behavior. Cher speaks about possibility of dying while visiting Pakistan during a global pandemic, and Kaavan's grief over the death of his female elephant companion.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Discussion about Kaavan entering the mating stage known as musth, a condition in which a bull elephant displays aggressive behavior because of a surge in testosterone level.
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Swear words include "hell" and "hellhole." Discussions include a claim by Cher that she is "pissed off" at sight of Kaavan's situation. Bull elephant is described as being "punch drunk" after his travel on a long airplane flight.
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Products & Purchases
Images include display of social media website feeds, #freethewild promotional poster, "California Republic," "Free the Wild," and "Four Paws" T-shirts, words on facial masks, smartphones, a Nike backpack. Brand names FedEx and DHL appear on transport vehicles.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Images include Kaavan being tranquilized before being transported to a new locale, as well as people getting tested for COVID-19. Mention that Kaavan is given medication to suppress the surge in his testosterone level and to curb aggressive behavior.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Cher & The Loneliest Elephant is a documentary about the journey to rescue a bull elephant named Kaavan from neglectful conditions at a Pakistani zoo. Language includes swear words such as "hell" and "hellhole," a claim is made by Cher that she is "pissed off" at the sight of Kaavan's situation, and the singer speaks about the possibility of dying while visiting Pakistan during a global pandemic. There are also mentions that Kaavan is dangerous and has killed two keepers, talk of his grief over the death of female elephant companion Saheli, and mention that Kaavan is given medication to suppress the surge in his testosterone level and to curb aggressive behavior. Images include Kaavan constrained with chains around his feet, the elephant being tranquilized, Kaavan striking a human with his trunk, and archival footage of a deceased elephant.
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Where to Watch
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Cher & The Loneliest Elephant
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What's the Story?
CHER & THE LONELIEST ELEPHANT is a documentary about the actions taken by the Oscar-winning actor and pop singer along with others to offer a better life for Kaavan, a Pakistani bull elephant. It's a five-year effort by the team to free the animal from the Marghazar Zoo in Islamabad, where he has been held captive in uncaring living conditions while being featured as a star attraction for visitors to see.
Is It Any Good?
In this heartwarming film about the incredible rescue of a bull elephant, Cher initially admits that she's not sure about how to help. "I cannot save an elephant in Pakistan because I have no street cred," says the Academy Award-winning actor in Cher & The Loneliest Elephant. "How am I going to do this?" But with her passion for animals, the Goddess of Pop shows that she can, and gathers support from experts and friends. Cher captures the part of elephant rescuer with perfection, a role that she says "was way beyond my job description, but, you know, they have feelings and we have to be responsive." And Cher & The Loneliest Elephant does just that as a moving story sure to initiate a dialogue about the subjects of animal care and rescue.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the teamwork of the cast in Cher & The Loneliest Elephant. How do they also demonstrate compassion, courage, and perseverance? Why are these important character strengths?
Why is Kaavan referred to as the "dancing elephant" and "loneliest elephant" at the zoo?
What are shared similarities between elephants and humans?
What is the meaning of animal rescue? What could you do to help save or support animals?
- On DVD or streaming: April 22, 2021
- Cast: Cher, Amir Khalil, Samar Khan
- Director: Jonathan Finnigan
- Studios: Smithsonian Channel, Nutshell TV Ltd., Two Wise Monkeys Entertainment, Terra Mater Factual Studios
- Genre: Documentary
- Topics: Activism, Science and Nature, Wild Animals
- Character Strengths: Compassion, Courage, Perseverance, Teamwork
- Run time: 46 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Award: Common Sense Selection
- Last updated: February 27, 2023
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.
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