Movie Review Rewind: One Lucky Elephant (2011)
One Lucky Elephant is a surprising, wonderful, emotional documentary that shows the deep affection and love between humans and animals. It is such a raw story that you could not make it up. It has to be real. Essentially, this is a love story unlike any other you have ever seen on-screen. This film is a decade in the making and director Lisa Leeman takes us on a journey that will make you laugh, cry and everything in between.
Circus producer David Balding adopted a baby African elephant named Flora. She became the star of the show and David even names the entire circus after her. Flora loved performing in front of all ages, but after 16 years she is getting old and tired. And no matter how hard it is for David to take Flora out of the show, he knows it is the best thing for her.
Flora retires and David sets out on a mission to get Flora out of the circus and back to living with other elephants. But it is easier said than done and David finds that out first-hand. He searches for the perfect place for Flora to live the rest of her days out in and when he finally finds it, it is not how he expected it to be. The relationship between David and Flora is tested in ways he never that were possible.
The journey to finding a place and keeping Flora there is a tough, emotional one for sure. The sacrifices that are made, especially on David’s part is heart-breaking at times. But he has always had the best intentions for her and he will not quit now. At the same time, this documentary doesn’t dodge the arguments of being able to keep wild animals in captivity and their treatment in places like the circus. Those are issues, when talking about a topic such as this, cannot be ignored. But in this case, there is no doubt that David and Flora have a wonderful friendship and share admiration, loyalty and love for one another.
One Lucky Elephant has so much heart and passion for its subject. It is full of difficult choices and tough decisions, but that is a part of life. The entire documentary holds your attention and makes you care and feel for everyone involved. While it can be sad at times, this film captures the beauty of a unique friendship and the fight of never giving up on someone you love. No matter what. David does that for Flora and she would do the same for him. Flora really is one lucky elephant and this documentary is one-of-a-kind.
Brandon Vick is a member of The Music City Film Critics’ Association, the resident film critic of the SoBros Network, and the star of The Vick’s Flicks Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @SirBrandonV and be sure to search #VicksFlicks for all of his latest movie reviews.