Movie Review: Pop Aye proves that elephants improve everything, even sentimental road movies

Some men buy a Ferrari when they’re in the throes of a midlife crisis. Thana (Thaneth Warakulnukroh), the successful architect who’s at the center of writer-director Kirsten Tan’s wistful feature debut Pop Aye, buys an elephant. And although at first this appears to be an act of portentous quirkiness, it turns out that the elephant, Pop Aye—played by an elephant named Bong, one of three actors listed in the film’s credits—is the same one Thana grew up with on his uncle’s farm in the Thai countryside, and the duo’s long walk back to Thana’s hometown is not just a homecoming; it’s an act of penance.

Dissatisfied and feeling as though life is leaving him behind, Thana longs for a simpler time, one less beholden to modern conveniences and consumerist luxuries. The film takes a similarly leisurely tack, ambling along at …

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