A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Blue Elephant involves a missing father who SPOILER ALERT is ultimately found to have died in battle. Along the way, it glorifies (and justifies the necessity of) war, with particular focus on dying in battle as an act of heroism, and a noble gift to one's own tribe/culture. While it's stated that war is never good, the film's main concern pits two warring cultures against each other in overly simplistic ways in which one is good and the other is evil. While some aspects of this could help a child process an absent or missing parent who is an enlisted soldier, the perilous battle scenes could complicate this effort for younger children.
What's the story?
Is it any good?
THE BLUE ELEPHANT is a tricky one; it's part heartwarming coming-of-age tale of mother-son love, part head-scratcher of an oversimplification about the necessity of war. Though it offers some solid, admirable lessons about the importance of trusting people, not judging a book by its cover, and the greatness that may come from unlikely people, it does so through a tale that states multiple times that war is not good, but inevitable.
Kids will enjoy the story of this scrappy elephant who earns the respect of his peers, family, and elders with his great heart, kindness, and the courage of his father. Parents will appreciate the uplifting message. But your take on this as one for family movie night will depend on whether you see war as a terrible, preventable tragedy or a necessary sacrifice on the altar of humanity.
Talk to your kids about ...
- On DVD or streaming: February 22, 2011
- Cast: Carl Reiner, Jeremy Redleaf, Martin Short
- Director: Kompin Kemgumnird
- Studio: Weinstein Co.
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Adventures, Friendship, Misfits and Underdogs, Wild Animals
- Run time: 79 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: Rated PG for thematic elements and some battle action
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