This documentary film was scheduled to screen at South by Southwest (SXSW). Screen Zealots will continue some of our planned coverage of SXSW, the annual film festival in Austin, Texas that was cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Crafting a documentary that tackles a heavy subject like children’s grief is no breezy undertaking, and director Katrine Philip brings a straightforward, candid, and sincere style to “An Elephant in the Room.”
This emotionally exhausting film follows a group of kids as they work through rage, sadness, and a sense of helplessness with counselors at the Good Grief community in New Jersey. It’s one of the most honest and raw looks at the heartbreak that consumes a person when they lose a loved one.
Over the course of a year, the documentary follows a group of children and films their weekly meetings at the grief counseling center. What unfolds is an often heartbreaking and sometimes uplifting exploration of death as seen through a child’s eyes.
The most gut-wrenching scene is when a little girl describes her dad’s suicide, and the melancholy of watching a young boy say goodbye to a “sick” teddy bear will rip your heart out.
The film is sensitive enough to create a sad yet hopeful look at how people can come together to heal with a shared bond of grief and empathy. When in mourning, it will always help to have a listening ear and a shoulder to lean on, no matter your age.
At least COVID-19’ll be out here by May