One Lucky Elephant (2011)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Where does an elephant go after a life in the circus? Sixteen years have passed since circus producer David Balding adopted Flora, the orphaned baby African elephant. As Flora approaches adulthood, he realizes that she is not happy performing. Ultimately, David must face the difficult truth that the circus is no place for Flora; she needs to be with other elephants. The road to Flora's retirement, however, is a difficult and emotional journey which tests their bond in unexpected ways. Ten years in the making, ONE LUCKY ELEPHANT eschews easy sentimentality and doesn't shy away from examining the problems and mysteries posed by keeping wild animals in captivity. This is the denouement of a love story between two mammals -- one of them weighing 10,000 pounds -- who share feelings of loyalty, sorrow, admiration and joy. --(c) Film Forum
Documentary , Special Interest
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Critic Reviews for One Lucky Elephant

All Critics (25) | Top Critics (11)

Simple enough to delight a child and complex enough to baffle a philosopher.

Full Review… | August 17, 2011
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

How affected are these animals by the physical pain of being trained or by childhood trauma? Can they suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder? What can trigger that if they can? All these questions are raised and, quite appropriately, left open.

Full Review… | June 23, 2011
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

What begins as a simple man-and-his-pachyderm love story ends up encompassing unexpected levels of trauma and sacrifice.

Full Review… | June 22, 2011
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Both illuminates the bond that can form between humans and animals and also reminds us that we can never quite leap over the gulf of comprehension that lies between us and other species.

June 12, 2011
Top Critic

While its story is inherently bittersweet, the movie has many charming moments. After all, it's about one smart elephant.

Full Review… | June 9, 2011
Top Critic

One Lucky Elephant is a poignant documentary whose simple premise masks a substantial emotional wallop...

Full Review… | June 9, 2011
AV Club
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for One Lucky Elephant

A remarkable documentary about a man an his elephant, a decade spanning love story between circus master David Balding and his elephant, Flora, who after 16 years realizes that she no longer enjoys performing. So he sets out to find a new home for her, a task that is more difficult than he could have ever imagined. Thoughtfully examines the plight of animals in captivity and the bond between human and animal. This is a moving real life WATER FOR ELEPHANTS.

Matthew Lucas
Matthew Lucas

Super Reviewer

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