The Elephant in the Living Room
Now Showing at:
Review by: Larry Thomas
Lions, and tigers, and bears. Oh, my! Sounds cute doesn’t it when you hear it in The Wizard Of Oz. Unfortunately, the cuteness rapidly evaporates when applied to humans who insist on having wild, exotic animals as pets. The documentary The Elephant In The Living Room takes a look at those who would endanger friends, family and themselves by trying to domesticate these lions, and tigers, and bears, and more. Add in chimpanzees, cougars (the four-legged kind) and all manner of reptiles: alligators, pythons, boa constrictors, plus venomous snakes and spiders.
A lot of the film centers on Terry Brumfield who’s retired on disability and lives in Pike County, Ohio, north of Portsmouth. Terry had a female lion, and then was given a male, which he named Lambert. No doubt after the Walt Disney cartoon “Lambert, the Sheepish Lion.” But there’s nothing sheepish about Lambert as he evolves into a full-grown, full-maned African lion. Naturally, the two mate, and Terry is now the keeper of three brand-new lion cubs. The newborn cubs are absolutely adorable, but not when they’re in a small pen in rural Ohio.
Tim Harrison is a police officer, firefighter and paramedic, and his duties have also expanded to help rescue endangered animals, especially those of a wild and exotic nature.
There is no doubt that Terry loves his lions like his own family. He may be big-hearted, but most would think him to be wrong-headed. It eventually falls to Tim to make things right for all concerned.
The Elephant In The Living Room examines a very thorny issue involving various rights, but this film tries to advance the rights of those who really have no voice in the matter: the animals. Filmmaker Michael Webber has done an excellent job of following his subjects and presenting the facts through logic, without being preachy. The people and the animals in this film are very real characters, which will likely stir your emotions. But above all else, it will really make you think about this issue. The film should be required viewing in schools, zoos, pet shops, or anywhere else necessary to make people realize the keeping wild animals is a harmful practice.
After all, how would you like to end up the punch line to the old joke “where does an 800-pound gorilla sit?” It might turn out to be “on you.”
The Elephant In The Living Room is in town for a very limited time and in only one theatre. It opened Friday at the Rave Theatre in West Chester, and plays through this coming Thursday. Show times daily are at 1 and 7 pm. If you are an animal lover, you owe it to yourself to see this heartwarming, heartbreaking, thought-provoking film.