A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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.
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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.
- On DVD or streaming: August 14, 2012
- Cast: Brittany Bristow, Erica Durance, John Rhys-Davies
- Director: Leif Bristow
- Studio: Screen Media Films
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Friendship, Great Girl Role Models, Wild Animals
- Run time: 103 minutes
- MPAA rating: G
- MPAA explanation: Rated PG for some scary action and mild language.
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.