The Elephant Whisperers review – touching story of a couples life with elephants

By Romey Norton
Published: December 8, 2022 (Last updated: December 16, 2023)


This short documentary is an inspirational and emotional watch, which has made me want to run away and devote my life to looking after elephants.

We review the Netflix documentary film The Elephant Whisperers, which was released on December 8th, 2022.

Set in the beautiful and peaceful rural backdrops of a South Indian village, this India-set short documentary tells the heartwarming story of the first couple to successfully raise two baby elephants in the Theppakadu Elephant Camp. They devote their lives to loving and caring for the orphans, forging unique and inspiring bonds with the gentle giants, and becoming one loving family. 

The Theppakadu Elephant Camp is one of the oldest elephant camps in Asia and has been helping rehabilitate elephants for over 140 years. In the 41 minutes this Netflix documentary lasts, we get a small insight into these gentle, and sometimes cheeky, giants and are shown how they are raised to become independent and have a good life. We see the elephants being washed, fed, playing with balls, having cuddles, and roaming free across a vast amount of land. They have to wear bells so they can easily be found in the forest if they wander off too far and get lost. 

Bomman and Bellie are truly an inspiring couple, and their openness and devotion to helping the baby elephants Ragu and Ammu filled me with such hopeful emotion and made me think how the world needs more people like them in it. Bellie is the only woman assigned to work with baby elephants, and after losing her first husband and her daughter, you can see how she gives all her love to the elephants and raises them like her own children. Watching their relationship is beautiful; how these majestic animals form a bond with the couple, tagging along on their activities, is magical. Ragu is assigned a new caregiver throughout the documentary, and this is heartbreaking for the couple and the viewer; this is where I cried. I know I’m a softie when it comes to animals but this felt like a stab to the heart. 

The cinematography is beautiful, we see not just elephants but monkeys, bears, and birds in the forest, and animals and humans roaming free and living together. This coexistence is a peaceful, almost idyllic life, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have hardships. While elephants are kind and emotional creatures, they are also dangerous. Bomman was stabbed by a tusk accidentally and now can no longer work with the big elephants. Although the way he’s transforming the babies’ lives, I think he’s okay with this. 

Soft, classical music is used throughout, and this builds the poetic and peaceful nature of the documentary. There are subtitles available, as it’s not in English. For the short amount of time, it takes to watch, I felt I went on an emotional journey in this documentary. It packs a small punch and is definitely worth the watch, especially if you love elephants.

Baby Ragu and Ammu’s lives have only been made possible by the love and care given by Bomman and Bellie, and I hope they continue their inspiring work and teach future generations who will have the same successes in years to come. 

What did you think of the Netflix documentary film The Elephant Whisperers? Comment below.

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