An Elephant in the Room Image

Due to its nature, An Elephant in the Room is a very emotional project with unimaginable heartbreaking scenes happening one after another, such as kids being bullied in school because they don’t have a father, or feeling inadequate during various school activities where people often ask about one’s dad or mum “as if it is normal.” It truly makes viewers think about the fact that we as a society tend to forget that not everyone is lucky enough to grow up with two parents.

It is almost inconceivable to see small children, some barely past toddler age, able to process complex thoughts and formulate sentences expressing so many intense feelings of compassion for other kids going through what they are going through. Thus in these trying times, An Elephant in the Room provides some heartwarming and uplifting moments as we see individuals of all ages, shapes, colors, sizes, backgrounds, supporting each other in their own way or helping others while helping themselves. We would not blame anyone shedding a tear (or possibly a bucket if you are on the sensitive spectrum) watching this documentary as it addresses such a difficult and intimate issue that nevertheless is universal.

Things flow naturally whether it is while capturing life going on despite adversities…”

Even though at times, the film might feel intrusive as we can discern whether the participants are aware of the camera presence or that it might be taking advantage of these vulnerable and precious little humans. The filmmakers truly took all the precautions and a respectful approach. We can see that Katrine left them room to grieve in private by themselves or with a Good Grief staff and let them only say what they want to say. Well, we all know most kiddies tend to overshare or say what they want unfiltered; and that is mainly the beauty of An Elephant in the Room: showing grief in its purest form.

However, is it a real shame the film suffers from a lack of technical qualities with, sadly, some shaky or blurred visuals, or sound maladjustment here and there. Additionally, one could have wished for something a bit less loose, but the director wisely decided to let things flow naturally whether it is while capturing life going on despite adversities. Or letting the camera linger observing people’s emotions and reactions to being filmed while describing their states, a bit like in group therapy where the person passing the baton to speak is also the one being filmed. In the end, there is no denying An Elephant in the Room is a very earnest project and it is the kind of documentary that has a subject so strong and primordial to its existence that “appearances and effects” might bear little consequences to its overall appreciation.

An Elephant in the Room was scheduled to screen at the 2020 SXSW Film Festival.

An Elephant in the Room (2020)

Directed and Written: Katrine Philp

Starring: Good Grief center staff and clients, etc.

Movie score: 6.5/10

An Elephant in the Room Image

"…...young participants learn to express their state of mind in very detailed ways and are impressively elaborate..."

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