The Elephant in the Living Room is hardly what you called an inspiring documentary, for there is no romanticism whatsoever, especially when it comes to caring for tigers, snakes, and other wildlife animals as household pets.
Still, it has earned critical acclaim and won several awards, as director Michael Webber gives the audience the negative – and surprising positive – of taking in these animals through the eyes of two men. The first is Tim Harrison, a police officer who is also certified as a firefighter and paramedic in Ohio, and the second is Terry Brumfield, as he and his wife raised two large African lions. Despite the risks and bouts of depression, Terry loves them as if they were his own children, and that he himself would die if these lions were taken from, or else it would be like Waco … only worse. Still, what happened during the climax will break his heart – and probably for all animal lovers out there.
The DVD contains commentary from producer John Atkins and Webber, who answered viewers’ questions with Harrison and Russ Clear on making the documentary with “Beyond The Call – The Untold Stories” (48 minutes); deleted scenes (18 minutes), and the trailer.
Although it may not be as big as health care and the national debt ceiling, taking in exotic animals to raise in your house remains a hot topic because you could be putting your own life as well as the lives of your family members and/or innocent people at risk. Another is you have no prior experience in training and handling these kinds of animals.
At least, that is what the direction of The Elephant in the Living Room would have gone, yet there is somewhat no resolution and no uplifting message. In other words, there is no light at the end of this tunnel.