Parents' Guide to

The Elephant Queen

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 6+

Big-hearted, beautiful docu about matriarchal elephant herd.

Movie PG 2019 96 minutes
The Elephant Queen Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 11+

Based on 5 parent reviews

age 6+


My 5-year-old and 10-year-old daughters and I watched this together and absolutely loved it. My work as a nurse, combined with the death of grandparents and pets in our family has prepared us for discussions of life and death . Although processing life, and death can be uncomfortable, this film could open that door for parents to help kids. I gave them a heads up about the scene and offered to skip it if they wanted. I did not find the death scenes traumatic, and the rest of the film balanced the temporary discomfort of a real-life, common event. It also helped us discuss the importance of maternal health. My kids are much more disturbed by shows where there is fictional physical fighting or intentional injury/death between people, and many of those shows are rated for younger kids. The show deepened our respect for elephants as intelligent, intuitive, resilient, sentient beings who have many of the same joys and struggles as humans. We laughed, we cried, just like in life.
age 12+

Not for sensitive kids

I will give my wife's take of the movie. Our smallest son loves elephants so we were going to give this a try. We turned it off after I read that a baby elephant dies as we wanted to prescreen it for our boys. My wife watched it and was sobbing at what she watched and said there was no way our 5.5 year old would watch it. Dont know why it says 6+ by the site, but it is pretty sad for young kids.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (5 ):
Kids say (1 ):

Gorgeously shot, fabulously narrated, and surprisingly poignant, this documentary is an inspiring tribute to the power of motherhood and community on the African savanna. Deeble, Stone, and their tight-knit crew committed four years to conceiving and shooting The Elephant Queen, with a year dedicated solely to Athena and her herd. As Athena and the younger generations of females and little ones frolic in their watering hole and live peacefully with their neighbors during green season, it seems like life is idyllic. But as the climate dries the vegetation that's their food supply, the film shows how precarious surviving can be, even for large creatures. Expect a few tear-jerking moments as baby Mimi has trouble acclimating and suffers from failure to thrive once her mother's milk dries up.

The beauty of this film is that while it concentrates on the elephant herd, it also explores all the surrounding animals that benefit from the elephants' presence -- from the tiniest of dung beetles to the cutest of Egyptian geese (one of whom, Steven, is a scene-stealing wanderer). There are also frisky foam-nest tree frogs, patient bullfrogs, and beautiful birds. Deeble's impressive cinematography is immediate and immersive, giving viewers a close-up view of the various animals and their life cycles. Ejiofor's narration proves as suited to narration as voice-over legend Morgan Freeman's; the filmmakers chose an ideal actor to voice their wildlife narrative. Families with kids of all ages will find something to love in this tender, terrific documentary.

Movie Details

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