The movie, “The One and Only Ivan” is directed by Thea Sharrock, who is an amazing English theater and film director from London, United Kingdom. This definitely is not her first rodeo because she also directed the famous “Me Before You” and “The Hollow Crown: Henry V”. The movie has an amazing cast of actors including Sam Rockwell, Bryan Cranston, Angelina Jolie, Danny DeVito, Brooklyn Prince, Ariana Greenblatt, and Ramon Rodriguez. This wonderful movie is an emotional and heart felt film that is packed with very surprising parts and choices made by the characters in the movie.
The movie starts off with a talking silverback gorilla named Ivan who lives in a shopping mall in Tacoma. Ivan lives there in a domain with other animal domains surrounding him.
Ivan’s best friend’s name is Stella who is a very wise and old elephant that lives right next to Ivan. Ivan also has a best bud named Bob who is a stray dog that always somehow sneaks into Ivan’s domain at night and sleeps on the friendly silverback’s stomach. At the mall, Ivan is the headliner for the whole circus. Mack (played by Bryan Cranston) adopted Ivan when he was a baby after being captured in the Democratic Republic of the Congo where Ivan was born. Now Mack runs the circus where Ivan performs. The circus used to be very popular and people would come from everywhere, all over the world, just to see Ivan’s famous act but now the circus is almost completely empty with barely anyone coming to see it.
Julia (played by Ariana Greenblatt) is the daughter of George (played by Ramon Rodriguez) who works at the circus for Mack. Unfortunately George’s wife and Julia’s mother is very sick and can’t do anything anymore because of her illness. Julia loves to draw, because when she draws, she draws what she wants the world to be like. For example, she draws pictures of her mom playing with her and exercising, and she thinks that if she draws well enough that her drawings might just come true. Then Julia, being the positive and creative girl she is, gives Ivan some pieces of paper and some of her old crayons so he can draw.he next day Julia goes to visit Ivan again and sees that he actually drew something. George cannot tell what Ivan drew so he just calls out random things when Julia says it’s a beetle and she was correct Ivan did draw a beetle. Everyone says Julia has an artist’s eye and they are indeed correct she does. .
The next day, like always, Bob wakes up on Ivan’s stomach and Stella is already awake in her domain and ready for the big show. Next, Bob smells Snickers, Mack’s personal dog, getting kibble in Mack’s office. So, Bob sneaks into Mack’s office, like every other day, and eats Snickers’ leftovers. Snickers knows about Bob sneaking in so she is cool with it. While Bob is finishing off eating Snickers’ leftover kibble, Bob says, “ I‘ve got to go now because I’ve got to go and pump-up Ivan for the show.” Snickers,looking confused, says, “There is no show. We are getting a new animal but DON’T tell anyone.” “Okay” said Bob. While Bob is walking down the stairs from Mack’s office he starts screaming “A new animal! A new animal!’’ The other animals and Ivan get so excited and are now wondering what type of animal it is, when a huge truck pulls up with the animal and everyone is screaming with excitement. Mack enters the truck with a delighted face – beaming with joy!
What is it? Is it a gorilla like Ivan? Another elephant like Stella? Or maybe a new animal like a monkey. You should definitely watch the movie to find out!
I recommend this movie for kids ages 7 and up because kids under the age of 7 may not understand the movie’s emotional scenes or the whole meaning of the movie. I think what makes “The One and Only Ivan” even better, is that it is based on an actual gorilla named Ivan with the same story, so make sure you watch this movie!