Watch Kids' Reviews of
ELEPHANTS PURR LIKE CATS DO

What to know:
ELEPHANTS PURR LIKE CATS DO is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
Recommended age 7-18
12 minutes
VIDEO
LAURA JOHNSON
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The story is really nice and heart warming. A young girl and her working widower father have drifted apart and her beloved stuffed elephant is her only friend. When her father has an assignment due by midnight she must do her homework on her own. But when she makes a mistake that could ruin her dad's career he realizes what's really important in life.

I loved the family friendliness of it. The camera work is good and so is the audio. Nothing specific sticks in my mind, it is all really good. The costumes are casual wear and suit the story line and time period. The sets also suit the story line. Both actors' performances are amazing. They both stand out as much as each other.

My favorite part of the film is when the daughter is bathing her stuffed elephant.

The message of the film is that family comes before work.

I give Elephants Purr Like Cats Do 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18, plus adults. This would make a lovely addition to a film festival for kids and families, and could generate discussion about what's important. Reviewed by Katie F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic

Elephants Purr like Cats Do is relatively silent, even when Dan and Peyton speak to each other. Their lack of dialogue shows the strained relationship between the father and his young daughter, so the silence is powerful. The audience can sense the coldness between the two by their interactions and body language. Dan, Peyton's father, is highly engrossed in his work. During a long night working overtime, Peyton takes on the responsibility of an adult and, being a child, has some major mishaps that set Dan back in his work. The two of them drift farther and farther apart until an incident brings the dad back to reality and reconnects him with his daughter.

I particularly enjoyed the metaphor of the elephant in this film. The daughter is seen holding her elephant while walking through the door and Dan is seen struggling to carry his work materials. It shows how much Dan values his work; while his daughter favors things that bring her comfort - her stuffed elephant. Continuing with that idea, Peyton tries to feed and clean her elephant. It shows that she knows what is needed to be taken care of, things that her father doesn't do for her.

The camera work is very good, particularly the close-ups of Peyton, which draw us in to her emotions and we feel her sense of loss. The editing is excellent with well-crafted matches on action. One transition that caught my attention is we see Dan cleaning up the split milk, with his hand moving around to wipe it up and the scene cuts to a similar action with Peyton in the bath. The costumes are suitable for contemporary life. One thing that stands out is that Dan doesn't take off his work attire when he comes home and wears it well into the night. It shows how much work overpowers his life. The locations also suit contemporary life. Peyton's room is decked out, showing the family as fairly affluent. My favorite location and scene is at the beginning. It is so subtle to catch the pole symbolism, but it is what the whole film is centered around - the feeling of separation even though the characters are in close proximity. Peyton is sitting with what seems to be an after school caretaker on a bench. They are separated and sit on either side of a pole that splits the bench in half, showing Peyton's disconnect with others. The production designer shines in this film. The set of the house is designed brilliantly. There are papers strewn about in the kitchen, giving it a disheveled look and showing how the Dan's work infiltrates the whole home. The audio is also great. The background music is mostly a soft guitar score and it pairs well with the more solemn and sentimental scenes. The actors are quite talented, especially Peyton. She encapsulates a broken and confused girl trying to navigate the world on her own. Her father is not emotionally available to her and we don't know why until later in the film.

The expression: don't cry over split milk is prevalent physically in this film. Peyton spills milk all over the kitchen and her dad reacts in a childish way, ultimately crying over the split milk. This happens later, when Peyton spills coffee all over Dan's work. He reacts childishly again, until he discovers the reason why Peyton spilled it. It demonstrates that, although mishaps are very annoying, they shouldn't lessen the love you have for the people you love.

The message of the film is: as important as a job may be, it should not take away from what is truly important in life. Jobs can be temporary, family is not.

I have always been interested in the family dynamic, since I have had a neglectful father myself. I haven't spoken to him over a decade, and I am always interested in how and why parents do not see in an issue in regards to their habits. Children are like sponges and absorb everything a parent says and does. This film made me think about how dealing with a neglectful father affects children in their adolescent and adult years.

I give Elephants Purr like Cats 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 12 to 18 plus adults. The good news is that the film has a happy ending, after the last mishap and the father waking up to the reality of the situation. So, don't think that it ends on a sour note.

This could generate discussion about family dynamics and the importance of connecting with our children. Reviewed by Tor F., KIDS FIRST! Reviewer

Peyton, seven years old, clumsily attempts to fend for herself, while her widowed father struggles to complete an urgent work assignment by midnight.
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