The Magician’s Elephant parents guide

The Magician’s Elephant Parent Guide

Well made and sweetly told, this is a film that will enchant children who enjoy fairy tales or stories with a touch of magic.

Overall A-

Netflix: An orphaned boy in search of his sister is challenged to find a magician with an elephant and then complete three impossible tasks.

Release date March 17, 2023

Violence B
Sexual Content A
Profanity A
Substance Use A

Why is The Magician’s Elephant rated PG? The MPAA rated The Magician’s Elephant PG for some action/peril and thematic elements.

Run Time: 99 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Orphaned boy Peter (Noah Jupe) lives a frugal, regimented life under the eye of his guardian, Sergeant Lutz (Mandy Patinkin), who believes the boy should be raised like a soldier. In a moment of wonder, Peter visits a fortune teller (Natasia Demetriou) to ask whether or not his sister, of whom he only has vague memories, is still alive. The mysterious woman not only confirms that she is alive, but states that Peter can find her by following an elephant. Since there are no elephants anywhere near the town, Peter loses hope in the veracity of the woman’s prediction.

Meanwhile, a magician accidently conjures an elephant during a performance, much to the astonishment of the entire town. Thinking his destiny is in motion, Peter attempts to take the elephant, but is stopped by the local leaders, who are considering putting down this lost pachyderm. In desperation, Peter makes a deal that he will perform three impossible tasks in order to gain possession of the elephant that he believes will change his life. But, as he begins the impossible tasks, he starts to see some very different changes in the town.

I have not read the titular novel on which this adaptation is based, though I have read some of Kate DiCamillo’s other works so I’m familiar with her style. The greatest strength of this production, I think due to the original book, is the simplicity of the story. There aren’t really any subplots or complicated story lines: the movie has a straightforward beginning, middle, and end type of structure, much like a fairy tale. That might sound boring, but the simplicity allows the writers to hone in on the emotions and message of the story in a way that is easily understood and enjoyed by children.

For children with a love of fairy tales or simple adventures, The Magician’s Elephant is a fantastic production with beautiful visuals, great voice acting, and inspiring themes around belief and hope. Parents will appreciate the lack of negative content as well. As a critic I could quibble about the 3D animation and some of the design choices, but that feels unnecessary. Sometimes a simple fairy tale is more than enough to both inspire and entertain.

Directed by Wendy Rogers. Starring Brian Tyree Henry, Natasia Demetriou, Mandy Patinkin. Running time: 99 minutes. Theatrical release March 17, 2023. Updated

Watch the trailer for The Magician’s Elephant

The Magician’s Elephant
Rating & Content Info

Why is The Magician’s Elephant rated PG? The Magician’s Elephant is rated PG by the MPAA for some action/peril and thematic elements.

Violence: There is some adventure violence. An elephant falls on a woman, injuring her. Two characters engage in a swordfight. A flashback scene depicts active combat, including explosions.
Sexual Content: None.
Profanity: None.
Alcohol / Drug Use: None.

Page last updated

The Magician’s Elephant Parents' Guide

What happened to the town that caused everyone to lose their belief and hope? How do they start to gain it back and what happens to the town as they do?

Loved this movie? Try these books…

For a complete list of Kate DiCamillo’s books, you can check out her website.

Home Video

Related home video titles:

Other films based on novels by Kate DiCamillo include Because of Winn Dixie, Flora & Ulysses, The Tale of Despereaux, and The Tiger Rising.

If your youngsters want more movies about elephants, you can try Horton Hears a Who, Dumbo (also in a live action version), and Disneynature’s excellent documentary Elephant.