The One and Only Ivan Review: Looking through the eyes of a gorilla

This movie addresses the cruelty that circus animals suffer from their caretakers.  This review has spoilers.

How often does a movie focus on an animal other than a dog? In this Disney+ film,” The One and Only Ivan”, the story is told through the eyes of Ivan, a gorilla who is the main attraction of a circus show. Ivan has been the main attraction of the show for many years with his aggressive beating on his chest and growling to make him look tough, but he also realizes that he wants more freedom than he actually has.

Even though Ivan had been the main attraction for many years; the audience grew tired and bored with his performance. This makes Mac, the ringmaster, add a new addition to the circus family, a baby elephant named Ruby. Ruby is immediately taken into the care of Stella, an older elephant. At first, Ruby and Stella perform together in the circus show, but Stella becomes weaker as her health declined. Soon, Ruby has to perform on her own as she becomes more popular than Ivan, he gets jealous.

Ruby starts to like Ivan and bothers him by asking him to tell her bedtime stories. On one night, Ivan is about to go to sleep when Ruby asks him for a story. Ivan tells her two, one of his childhood before he was captured and the other of when he first started living with Mac. This makes Ruby have a yearning to be free.

After Ivan has finished the stories, Stella calls him over as she is dying and makes him promise that he will help free Ruby back into the wild. As Ivan promises her this, Stella dies.

After Stella’s death, Mac starts grooming Ruby to be the main attraction of the show, but Ruby is reluctant. Ivan disagrees with the way Mac is treating Ruby so he starts to make a plan to escape with the help of his friend Bob, a stray mutt dog that lives with Ivan in his cage.

When they first tried to escape Mac found them and brought them back. This makes Ivan try to strategize a much better plan and he does this by drawing and painting pictures of the jungle.

A little girl named Julia, who is the daughter of the janitor that works at the circus notices. Julia asks a news reporter to talk about Ivan’s artwork. She asks her if she can do a report on the captivity of the animals at the circus.  This makes the people petition to free the animals and Mac eventually gives in and closes down the circus and has all the animals shipped to the wild or a conservatory. Ivan is sent to a conservatory and is around other gorillas which makes him happy and satisfied that he kept his promise to Stella.