Sophie and Sheba

Movie review by
Tracy Moore, Common Sense Media
Sophie and Sheba Movie Poster Image
Animal friendship movie in circus setting has some peril.
  • G
  • 2012
  • 103 minutes

Parents say

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Kids say

age 6+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Viewers get some exposure to the world of animal training and circus life.

Positive Messages

Sophie and Sheba packs in plenty of positive messages about standing up for what's right, working within a system to effect change, and letting go of a painful past to keep pursuing one's goals. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Characters are realistic and relatable in both their goals and limitations. Adults are present and engaged, with their own motivations and concerns.

Violence & Scariness

There are some scary animal scenes with a panther where a character is badly scratched, and some mild peril, though nothing graphic or bloody. A panther who expresses aggression is put down, but only a shot is heard in the distance. In a later scene, an elephant appears to be whipped a few times, though no contact between the whip and animal is actually shown. A character shown to be somewhat disturbed aims a gun at an animal but does not shoot.

Sexy Stuff

A teen boy and girl flirt with friendly banter in one scene. In another, they dance together and then embrace. In two other scenes, they kiss briefly.


In a few scenes, an animal trainer refers to an animal as "stupid" and "dumb."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Sophie and Sheba is a circus movie, a premise that may offend families with animal rights concerns. An animal who expresses aggression is put down (a shot is heard in the distance), and one scene shows a man appear to be whipping an elephant, though no contact between the whip and animal is actually shown. A character references a spouse who died in an accident with an elephant. However, though the film does not explicitly condemn circuses (or zoos, which factor in briefly), it shows support for the notion that even the most loving zoo or circus setting cannot trump the benefit of a wild animal's natural habitat.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written byShamurocks July 13, 2014

I LOVED IT. Watch out for scary scenes though.

Sophie and Sheba is about a girl named Sophie who's pet elephant named Sheba is sold to a circus. She is then dedicated to bust her out and set her free. A... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byMidori K. April 28, 2014

I love Sophie and Sheba!!!

I'm thirteen and I love this movie and watch it over and over again! It's really a good movie and it's kind of sad at the end when *spoiler* Sheb... Continue reading

What's the story?

When Sophie's (Brittany Bristow) parents sell her beloved elephant, Sheba, from their family zoo to the local traveling circus, Sophie is devastated. Thinking quickly, she gets a job at the zoo so she can stay close by. But when she's forced to work to help train Sheba for the very circus she wants to rescue her from -- and meets a boy, Blake (Augustus Prew), that she really likes -- she has to make difficult choices about doing what's right.

Is it any good?

SOPHIE AND SHEBA is a nicely done, if overly simplistic, family movie about friendship and doing the right thing, even when it's difficult. The characters are relatable and the setting is well-drawn.

Kids who love animals and the circus will enjoy seeing the animals and performances in an eccentric, theatrical setting. Parents will appreciate the headstrong female role model and the good lessons about making complicated decisions, standing up for what you believe in, and moving past old wounds to forge ahead. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about working to change a system you disagree with. Have you ever tried to change something at school or home you didn't think was fair? How did you go about it? What were the results?

  • Have you ever had to give something up you loved, such as a pet, so it could be cared for better? What happened?

  • Go online to learn more about how wild animals are treated in zoos and circuses, and the laws that have been passed that govern their care and handling.

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love animals

Themes & Topics

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