Critic Reviews



Based on 35 critic reviews provided by
Like "The Notebook," but with an elephant, the unexpectedly good film version of Water for Elephants elevates pure corn to a completely satisfying realm of romantic melodrama.
One of those big, extravagant-looking romances that you might automatically deem "conventional" - except for the fact that almost nobody makes big, extravagant-looking romances anymore.
In Water for Elephants, Waltz plays a circus owner and ringleader during the Great Depression, and when he's onscreen, every eye is on him, no matter who is talking.
Steamy and sexy with a smack of sadism, the movie is a throwback to old-school Hollywood action/romance.
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.
If the circus is a hierarchical pyramid, August is at the very top. It's a part tailor-made for the accomplished Waltz, an Oscar winner for "Inglourious Basterds," and he eats it alive.
It's all in the telling. Gruen provided grit and pungent detail. The movie settles for gloss.
Mildly entertaining, though the best performances come not from the stars, but the supporting players.
The primary drawback is the lack of chemistry between the leads, Reese Witherspoon and "Twilight's" Robert Pattinson.
Something is wrong under this big tent. Actually made to resemble a good old-fashioned, crowd-pleasing movie, this cinematic Water for Elephants droops and lumbers like Rosie the elephant herself.
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.
How do I count the ways this movie goes wrong?

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