Cast: Robert Pattinson; Reese Witherspoon; Christoph Waltz.
Director: Francis Lawrence.
Content Rating: PG 13 for moments of intense violence and sexual content.
IMDB: Water for Elephants
Set in the 1930s, a former veterinary student takes a job in a traveling circus and falls in love with the ringmaster's wife.
Overall, it was a breathtaking film that drew me utterly into its world.
First of all, I read the book first, which I thought was a good idea. It was, and so I felt a lot more ready to watch the film once I'd done that.
Second, I loved both. The film was obviously shorter and didn't have the depth of the book, but otherwise it hardly felt altered at all. And I loved it - with or without the cuts.
Visually it was gorgeous. The cinematography was lovely, and the film showcased the shine and sweat, the grit and glamour, of the circus life with enchanting ease and realism. I was, quite honestly, swept away in the world of Water for Elephants, and I thoroughly enjoyed absorbing myself in it :)
It was beautifully entertaining and fun. A little rushed at times; the climax was altered a bit from the book, and the animal stampede sort of came out of nowhere. The climax was the second of only two faults that I noticed in the film. The backbone of it was just too random.
In addition, I thought there were too few scenes between Marlena and Jacob and Rosie; especially lacking was the connection the book so vividly portrays between Marlena and her elephant, Rosie. I missed that.
The love triangle (of sorts) wasn't original, but the setting and story were original enough in themselves to avoid the cheesiness and cliches and still give the whole film a very fresh feeling. It was, to be honest, a very refreshing take on the usual 'cruel-husband-hot-headed-boy-beautiful-wife' set-up.
The acting was brilliant all round. Robert Pattinson gave a strong, intense performance even next to acting talents like Christoph Waltz, and Reese Witherspoon was equally delightful. Pattinson's performance was so intense and thoughtful, and I thought he was the perfect casting choice for the role of Jacob. For all the critics out there who cannot get past Twilight, I say "NO, he DID NOT ruin the film. He was excellent."
Christoph Waltz was in an cliched role for him, but he was inevitably excellent. Reese Witherspoon was enchanting; though she lacked Pattinson's connection with the animals.
The biggest of only two cons I found in the film was the lack of chemistry between Pattinson and Witherspoon. It was almost painful. While their relationship could just pass as a slow burning romance, the real chemistry was between Pattinson and the adorable elephant Rosie (her real name's Ty; FYI, I prefer Rosie).
Oh, Pattinson was just brilliant with the animals. He connected so well with them, and every scene with him and Rosie gloriously brightened up the screen. The emotion of certain scenes, like when Rosie gets beaten with the hook, were achingly portrayed, and together Pattinson and Rosie really touched my heart.
Yes, I loved Jacob & Marlena, but it was Jacob & Rosie who truly stole my heart in the end :)
I give it: 4 flowers!