Water for Elephants

Water for Elephants

(2011)

Period romance set in a traveling circus, starring Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon. Based on the bestselling novel.... More

Veterinary school student Jacob (Pattinson) meets and falls in love with Marlena (Witherspoon), a star performer in a circus of a bygone era. They discover beauty amidst the world of the Big Top, and come together through their compassion for a special elephant. Their relationship faces the wrath of Marlena's dangerous husband, August (Inglourious Basterds' Christoph Waltz).Hide

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Flicks Review

Some films are so entertaining, their flaws can be forgiven. Such is the case with Water for Elephants. It’s an imperfect, schmaltzy beast that feels like a film from a bygone era, and not just because it’s set in the 1930s. This is no prequel or sequel; it doesn’t rely heavily on CGI. It’s a fast-paced adventure tale like they used to make ‘em, a slice of old-fashioned Hollywood that traverses tragedy, romance and exotic travel. Step right up folks and join the circus.... More

Animal lovers may find it hard going watching the trained cats and star pachyderm, Rosie. The rest will likely thrill to its good versus evil characters, compelling theme of illusion and of course, the fact that Twilight’s Robert Pattinson plays the lead, Jacob.

He is really nice to look at, although his performance feels flat and uncertain, possibly because he’s playing opposite luminous Oscar-winner Reese Witherspoon, who puts in a capable performance as one of the circus’ star attractions. Pattinson is just as easily outshone by another fiery Oscar winner, Christopher Waltz who plays the antagonist, August.

There are a few too many holes in the logic, too. A knife appears a little too conveniently in one of the film’s climactic scenes and the old man narrative that bookends the story feels unnecessary (Since when did Hal Holbrook look anything like Pattinson?). But director Francis Lawrence keeps tensions high throughout, the costumes look authentic and the story – based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Sara Gruen – is riveting enough to make it feel like two hours well spent.Hide


The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 9 ratings, 9 reviews
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BY delarge101 superstar

The story itself is wildly unrealistic, but Water for Elephants tells it cohesively with fine performances accompanied with rough, heartbreaking scenes of raw emotion.


BY Coraliee superstar

I didn't think I could imagine Robert Pattison without fangs and red glowing eyes, so thought that this movie would be terrible. I was happy to proved wrong, and thought he pulled off a great performance in this film. I hadn't read the book, so can't compare it to that. But enjoyed the film from start to finish and would definately recommend it.


Maybe it's because these type of movies are not my thing, but found it boring and predictable. Would not recommend.


I don't get the Robert Pattinson thing so nearly didn't go to this movie, but I'm glad I did. A good adaptation from the book, it wasn't how I pictured it as I read the book and that can be a good thing. I ended up enjoying Pattinson in the role and Reese played her character well too. A good mix of characters, casting worked well and the whole premise of 1931 worked well. I actually enjoyed the way the movie started and finished in current time and then looked back. It worked well. I'd... More recommend this.Hide


1931 wasn't a good year. The depression hit America hard. Water for Elephants captures this grim reality but manages to maintain the romanticism of the train-travelling big-top circus era. Pattison handles the leading role with a great deal of competency, though never seeming to transcend that level. This stands out more in comparison to the excellent performances given by Christoph Waltz and Reese Witherspoon. There are a number of vital elements that I wish were explored further and the... More ending's a bit too clean, but nevertheless, Water for Elephants is an engaging tale of beauty in a very ugly time.Hide


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The Press Reviews

60% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • It's a tastefully managed, passionless melodrama, full of brooding looks and reasonably sweet moments, but typified by a scantly characterized central couple who bring no sense of engagement to their relationship. Full Review

  • In an age of prefabricated special effects and obviously phony spectacle, it's sort of old-fashioned (and a pleasure) to see a movie made of real people and plausible sets. Full Review

  • Water For Elephants is your typical love triangle (or quadrangle), but this swoony, dramatic, high-stakes romance has an old-timey twist. Full Review

  • Familiar but enjoyable. Not being funny, the elephant (Rosie, played by nine-foot enchantress Tai) is the real star as the most moving and only joyful presence in sight. Full Review

  • Will please fans of Sara Gruen's best seller, but it lacks the vital spark that would have made the drama truly compelling on the screen. Full Review

  • Short-circuits the novel's quirky charms and period atmosphere by its squeamish attitude toward gritty circus life and smothers the drama under James Newton Howard's insufferable wall-to-wall musical soup. Full Review

  • A swoony, enjoyable, old-time romance whose best acts are a period-perfect Pattinson and a playful pachyderm. But despite its best endeavours, it can’t quite punch above ’plex-pleasing weight. Full Review

  • The filmmakers clearly value their public, crafting a splendid period swooner that delivers classic romance and an indelible insider's view of 1930s circus life. Full Review

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