Peter (Noah Jupe) is an orphan boy under the care of Sergeant Vilna Lutz (Mandy Patinkin), who raises Peter to be a soldier. One day, on the way to the market to pick up his daily bread and fish, Peter discovers a fortune teller tent. The Fortune Teller (Natasia Demetriou) tells Peter that his sister is still alive, and not dead like Sergeant Lutz had told him. She also tells him that to find his sister he must follow the elephant.
Peter feels confused until, magically, an elephant appears. Peter is determined to follow the elephant to find his sister. The elephant is being held at the palace of the Countess (Kirby Howell-Baptise). The King (Aasif Mandvi) orders Peter to complete 3 impossible tasks if he wants to take the elephant. With the help of Captain Mattiene (Brian Tyree Henry) and the Captain’s wife, Gloria (Sian Clifford), Peter uses his determination, courage and wits to finish all 3 impossible tasks. Throughout this time, Peter forms a strong bond with the elephant.
Peter’s sister, Adele (Pixie Davis), who is also orphaned and who is cared for by Sister Marie (Dawn French), dreams about an elephant. After learning that an elephant has appeared in the city, Aldele insists that Sister Marie takes her to the city to see the elephant. During this time the siblings are reunited.
Fantasy; family death; family separation; family devotion; optimism; overcoming obstacles
The Magician’s Elephant has some violence. For example:
- A sword flight between Peter and a very big soldier, Sergeant de Smedt, including a near decapitation.
- Flashbacks to The Great Foreign War. Depictions of active combat and explosions, and Peter and his baby sister are seen in this life-threatening situation at the battle ground.
- Peter bangs his fists on a wall in frustration.
- Adele punches Peter in the arm in 2 scenes.
The Magician’s Elephant has some sexual references. For example, the King says to the Countess, ‘With a tan I become irresistible’.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
The Magician’s Elephant has some substance use. For example:
- The king is often seen with a drinking glass in his hand that suggests alcohol use and possible drunkenness.
- Wine glasses are held on various occasions. The King is pictured drinking out of a wine glass once.
- At the castle the King refers to drinking schnapps.
Nudity and sexual activity
There’s no nudity and sexual activity in The Magician’s Elephant.
There’s no product placement in The Magician’s Elephant.
The Magician’s Elephant has some coarse language. For example, booing, and a child uses sarcasm to insult Adele by saying, ‘I’m sure you’re hilarious’.
Ideas to discuss with your children
The Magician’s Elephant is a heartfelt and inspiring animated movie, based on the book by Kate DiCamillo. The movie shows strong moral values and insightfulness. It includes a diverse cast and lots of positive messages, including, ‘things are only impossible until they are not’. It’s suitable for a child audience, but parental guidance is recommended for children aged 5-12 years.
These are the main messages from The Magician’s Elephant:
- Belonging is important.
- Have compassion towards others, including animals.
- Nothing is impossible.
Values in The Magician’s Elephant that you could reinforce with your children include compassion, courage, determination, belief and self-belief, hope, adventure, selflessness, teamwork, and the importance of belonging and family.
The Magician’s Elephant could also give you the chance to talk with your children about the real-life consequences of:
- sacrificing your own happiness for the happiness of others
- accepting help and helping others
- having your dreams come true.
You could also discuss the importance of:
- being kind and courageous and caring about others, including people and animals
- believing in yourself and your dreams
- following your heart
- family, both for humans and animals