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Elephant in the Living Room


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Editorial Reviews

Praised by critics as one of the best films of the year, Elephant in the Living Room takes viewers on a journey deep into the controversial American subculture of raising wild predators as common household pets. Award winning director Michael Webber follows the extraordinary lives of two men at the heart of the issue - Tim Harrison, an Ohio Police officer whose friend was killed by an exotic pet; and Terry Brumfield, a big-hearted man who struggles to raise two pet African lions that he loves like his own family. Winner of 5 Best Documentary Awards, The Elephant in the Living Room, takes audiences on an emotional roller coaster ride straight through the heart of this heated national debate.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Tim Harrison, Terry Brumfield
  • Directors: Michael Webber
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Level 33 Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: February 7, 2012
  • Run Time: 94 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005XNHW0A
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,558 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Kari Jerge on August 24, 2011
Format: Amazon Instant Video Verified Purchase
The Elephant in the Living Room has to be one of the best documentaries made in the last 20 years. Forget about the Michael Moore's of the film industry. There are no slanted facts and slick editing in this movie. What you will see is documentary film making at its finest.

Both sides of the argument are presented here with compassion and true human emotion. From the outreach officer who, despite having had a tiger cub in his youth, seeks to provide safety for those in his state... to the troubled but warm-hearted man who fights depression with the help of his 4 year old lion who he sees as a son. If you have ever owned a pet, you will see so clearly and so poignantly where each of these men derive their passion from. This film does not seek to make either "camp" look bizarre or extremist, but presents the story with depth, truth, and palpable human emotion.

After watching the scenes where exotic pets are auctioned or sold at large markets, I found myself mesmerized and horrified. The depravity of human nature is striking and nauseating. A small child carrying an alligator, which his parents have bought for him, makes for an unforgettable scene. Monkeys, cougars, and hyenas being auctioned off in the heart of Amish country is yet another disgustingly haunting image. Contrast that with the gentleman mentioned above, who fights to keep the lions that he raises from birth, despite knowing that he can live neither with them nor without them.

This underground industry in America is exposed to the cruel light of day by The Elephant in the Living Room. And while the conclusion of the film is hopeful, the unsolvable problem created by human fascination, psychiatric illness, and greed leaves me concerned about the nightmares that will follow viewing this film.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By D. Pham on February 15, 2012
Format: DVD
I saw this movie in the theater with my family. I was quite speechless at the end. It is the story of how wild animals go unregulated on many States. When they get loose it is up to authorities to chase them down and catch them. Tim Harrison is great in the film and gives us a peek at his world. Sometimes scary, sometimes heartbreaking, but never boring.

Michael Webber has done a fine job of giving us both sides of the story. We see it from Tim's side and from the side of a man who owns wild animals. A must see!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By C. Giberson on February 16, 2012
Format: DVD
Such a fantastic movie that everyone should see. Wild animals should remain just that... WILD. Come on people they are not pets!!!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By T. Berner on September 11, 2011
Format: Amazon Instant Video
I'm perplexed by the two negative reviews because this is a model of fairness. Yes, the film has a point of view, but it goes out of its way to present alternate opinions fairly. This is a documentary which should be taught in journalism schools.

The documentary introduces the viewer to a subject few people know about: the market for exotic animals and the popularity of people keeping them in suburban areas. The director has a point of view, but in the process, he gives opponents a chance to speak out. Although I was convinced that this is a problem, I could easily have sided with the opponents.

Very few in the media have the empathy to approach a story like this, which is why one should view this in the theater or on Amazon but one should also get a copy to study. Unfortunately, too many commentators and reporters are incapable of treating the viewer or reader with the respect for their intelligence that people deserve.

The movie presents two main characters: one, a crippled truck driver who has raised a pair of lions since they were cubs and the other, a police officer who has become an expert in handling exotic animals. Although the lion owner is not particularly articulate, you see the love he has for the lions and understand the good that the lions have done for his state of mind.

And if you ultimately come down on the side of people who want to regulate the ownership of exotic animals, that is because the spokesman for that position is an authentic American hero. He comes across as unpreposessing, looking more like a hardware store clerk than a policeman. Yet he is quite an extraordinary man. With his combination of expertise, compassioin and courage, he embodies the American spirit and reminds one of an lawman of the Old West.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By bhamwizofoz on February 17, 2012
Format: DVD
An amazing documentary about owner's of wild animals and one man's mission to inform people about the dangers of such ownership. The animals are the subject of the controversy but the real gem in this documentary is the pet owners themselves. I began the documentary thinking it would be crazy to own a lion but when you hear these people's stories you begin to understand why they have such animals as pets. The danger and easy access of these exotic animals is also very interesting. Definitely a doc that exposes the viewers to a world I personally did not know exsisted.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By SJSTEW on March 2, 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I loved every second of this movie. One of the best I've seen in a long time. I watched it, took it to my moms house and watched it again. I plan to visit Lacie, Tabitha and Sampson at The Wild Animal Sanctuary very soon. Thanks.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By m.amber.t on February 17, 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I first saw this film at a viewing in Washington, D.C. at a conference before it was released to the public. It is such an inspiring film that really looks deep into the world of exotic animal trade. It gives an insight as to the size of the market. Exotic animal trading is a very cruel fact that we must all face. These animals do not belong in our backyard for our pleasure. I hope that everyone that watches this film takes a second look before purchasing "exotic" animals from pet stores or the black market.
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