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Water for Elephants
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Reviews & Ratings for
Water for Elephants More at IMDbPro »

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Endearing love story.

Author: insomniac_rod from Noctropolis
22 May 2011

I haven't read the novel this movie's based on but certainly, the story is moving, tender, and should be enjoyed by those who are into love stories.

The circus setting is fantastic because it truly displays how these places work. The Rosie character could be considered as a metaphor of Whiterspoon's character's life.

Christoph Waltz steals the show in a rude manner. The man is a fantastic actor. Pattinson demonstrates he's a talented young actor while Whiterspoon plays herself and it always works.

The situations could be labeled as endearing, tragical, romantic, cruel, and overall heart warming.

Hal Halbrook also demonstrates he's a top actor.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Beautiful film

Author: SAmovieguru from South Africa
29 April 2011

I was dying to see this film as it looked beautifully done and I was interested to see the chemistry between Marlena (Reece Witherspoon) and Jacob (Robert Pattinson). I was not disappointed at all. Reece is superb in the role, always looking glamorous and she captures the essence of the good wife, who has a calming effect on her highly energetic, at- times explosive husband August (Christoph Waltz) as well as the captivating star of the circus show. Waltz is the real star of this movie, as his volatile character shows him as the adoring, lovable husband, and flicks to his bad tempered abusive side. Pattinson plays a likable young man, whose strong love for animals and the kindness he shows Marlena, make him appealing and believable.

The scenery and filming are beautifully done, especially at the start of the movie. Being an animal lover, I struggled to watch the scenes where the animals were being abused, and showing the caged life of Circus animals. But these scenes added to creating the passion and intensity of the movie.

I highly recommend it.

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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

A Mixture of Fun, Suspense, Romance, Escapism and Adventure....And It's All Takes Place Under The Big Top

Author: terrellrobinson71 from Philadelphia, Pa
15 December 2011

"Water for Elephants", based on the best-selling novel by Sara Gruen, is a lot of fun. Why did I say that? It wasn't me being absorbed by "Twilight" heartthrob Robert Pattinson too much or being thrown overboard into a circus where every character plays its part by setting up for the big show in the first 10 minutes of the film. It was, actually, taking me on an adventure that's a mixture filled with romance, escapism and suspense. Not to mention that the elephant named Rosie is so clever and so interesting, she could be the 4th main character in the film, as it was in the novel. The film begins and bookends with an old man named Jacob Jankowski (The legendary Hal Holbrook) telling his story about being a part of the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show On Earth to the owner of the circus (Paul Schneider). Then the story moves to the 1930's, where we meet Jacob himself (Yes, he is played by Mr. Pattinson himself), soon to be graduating from Cornell, until his parents died in a car accident. With no money and no home, Jacob leaves to find work, but hops into the train of the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth, owned by August Rosenbluth (Oscar-winner Christoph Waltz from "Inglorious Basterds"), the sadistic, but high-spirited ringleader and his showcasing wife Marlena (Another Oscar-winner, Reese Witherspoon). When Jacob starts to work for this big-top circus as a vet (and a bull man), he meets a slew of colorful characters including the elephant named Rosie (Tai the Elephant), who can really be fearless and not afraid to show a little humor in the Great Depression and did I ever tell you that having hired heavies like Blackie (Scott McDonald) are bad for this kind of movie? Not to me. You know where this is going if you never read the book because of the romance between the three main characters with Jacob and Marlena being the foremost, but director Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend) and legendary screenwriter Richard LaGravenese adapt the Sara Gruen novel with some terrific results and it never goes that way until the last half of the movie. (It's 120 minutes long, don't release your urine until it's over.) This is probably the most fun I ever had on a film like this. Fans of the novel (i.e, me) will rejoice this movie. Did I even admire the casting of Pattinson, Witherspoon and Waltz. Totally! Pattinson is a good-looking guy and a good-looking actor, he takes the fangs off of Edward Cullen and starts to feel right at home with his performance as Jacob (not the werewolf with the last name Black). He can be funny, charming, romantic, emotional and....dare I say it? Brooding. Witherspoon does remind you what a great actress she is and she does it again, this time around, she would make a great Jean Harlow. Tai as Rosie the elephant is incredible. And Waltz's August makes for an intriguing character instead of a villainous character. He warms our hearts, but underneath this charm that he's got, he has a sadistic side that's waiting to pounce on Jacob. This movie made me smile. It's a real escapism of a adventure. Need a place to get away from your troubles? Then come on down to The Most Spectacular Show on Earth in "Water for Elephants" and have yourself a very good time. P.S: "Water for Elephants" is perfectly fine for children 12 & up despite one love scene, but the shocker for this PG-13-rated film is the abuse of animals being depicted. Take this note into consideration before you see this film.

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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:


Author: ooo_NB ( from Hungary
5 August 2011

I haven't seen such emotional movie since The Curious case of Benjamin Button. I can only mention good things about the film: circus, 1930s, USA and of course the fabulous music through the whole movie. Plus the actors (Pattinson, Waltz), and Reese Witherspoon made a fantastic job. I hope, Waltz will have the chance to win another Oscar-prize after Inglorious Basterds. Robert Pattinson can expect a bright future in his career. I think he made a mistake with that vampire-story, but he acted quite good in Remember Me, and now he became a professional actor with the Water for the Elephants. I don't know, why it got only 7.0 on IMDb. I hope, bye the time it starts to spread in other countries and becomes more and more popular, this number will be increasing.

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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Quite extraordinary..

Author: ptb-8 from Australia
21 June 2011

What a relief and delight to see such a grand and lavish 1930s epic circus film made in this clever new century. WATER FOR ELEPHANTS is perhaps not a good marquee movie title which is possibly what it was slow on the uptake in most cinemas. However word of mouth propelled the film into wide acceptance and rightly so. With astonishing accurate and eye catching production values by the great Jack Fisk, and imagery as compelling as the 1933 film WILD BOYS OF THE ROAD (the great depression era train movie), this circus drama of hard life and tough romance meeting youth and struggle (with some psychotic love) is one heady brew. Visually every frame of the film is composed with such care especially the moonlit vistas of the train chugging across the countryside. Robert Pattinson is Elvis' brother...yes? He might be Aaron reincarnated. He sure looks as though he could easily be the brother of Elvis Presley. Reece Witherspoon gives a terrific portrayal of a B grade circus Jean Harlow with a hard edge (maybe even like Karen Black in DAY OF THE LOCUST) and the fringe cast are all well portrayed. My only moan is the one-note Christop Walz who plays August the ringmaster and bully as the same cultured Nazi psychopath seen in INGLORIOUS BASTERDS. So far in his two films that I have seen he plays it the same. Yes go see WATER FOR ELEPHANTS and especially on a big movie screen. And yes, I loved Rosie the elephant.

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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Will open your eyes to a whole other world

Author: hurrycanekatrina-85-103870 from United States
20 June 2011

I wasn't sure what to expect from this movie. I hadn't seen the trailers and so there was nothing to really go by. I saw it at the dollar theater I always go to last weekend. I didn't realize I was soon going to be taken on a crazy, emotional ride.

This film is so real and eye opening. I'm not entirely sure if there's a true story or aspects of it behind the film but it wouldn't have made a difference. It's definitely a tear jerker and I had to look away a few times at the intense parts.

Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson were great together. I hadn't seen any of the Twilight movies and I wasn't planning on great acting but he really played the part well.

All in all, I highly recommend watching this. I would suggest keeping an open mind and letting yourself be engulfed in the experience.

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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Circus life is awful.

Author: phatdan from United States
3 June 2011

Can anything good result in evil? Can anything evil result in good? These questions are answered in the recent 20th Century Fox presentation of Sara Gruen's novel. The story takes place during the Great Depression of the 1930's. A veterinary student is forced to leave school as a result of his parent's death. He jumps aboard a moving train at night and immediately realizes it's a circus train. And that's about it: A circus, economic hard times, and a man who has lost everything. How much worse can it get? We will find out quickly.

And this is what makes the film so enjoyable. We enter this world with our hero and learn about the harsh brutality of circus life. We see performers, animals, roustabouts, and acknowledge their desperation, living conditions, and poverty, more than the exhibition of their talent. We see the circus as it really is: humanity struggling to survive.

Amid this backdrop is the owner and ring master, August, played by Christoph Waltz. His portrayal of a cruel psychotic deserves an Oscar.

The PG-13 rating is warranted. I don't think I would want to see such a film if it were rated R. Circuses wreak of desperation. They have done so since their beginnings, thousands of years ago. The circuses we see today, Ringling Brothers and Circus Vargas are vestiges of Eastern Europe. Indeed, many circus performers today have their ancestry rooted there, particularly Russia. These are a hard-working, dedicated people, very clannish and tight-knit within their community. They are very accustomed to the rigors and uncertainty of their gypsy-like existence. They are a hard people.

The adventure of our hero gradually becomes a life-threatening one. This ingredient in the story is exciting, but the overall story is formulaic and eventually clichéd. Yes, good can come from evil and evil from good. This is nothing new.

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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Great film, would definitely recommend

Author: Jasmine Wales from United Kingdom
17 May 2011

I chose this film originally because of the actor Robert Pattinson, who I really liked in the Twilight films. I went with my b/f and I didn't think that he would enjoy it that much because he isn't into romantic comedies and he doesn't rate the Twilight saga however he really enjoyed this film and so did I. The film had a great story line, which was quite original. I personally feel Robert Pattinson (Jacob) played his part better than Reece Witherspoon whose acting wasn't too great in some parts but it was only in parts and it didn't ruin the film. All the other actors were great. The is quite a good one, one that you love to hate. Overall I would definitely recommend this film to anyone, especially the R-PATT fans out there!

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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Awesome Movie

Author: from United States
14 May 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I have to say I was very pleasantly surprised with how well the movie was adapted from the book even though some parts were omitted or truncated. Even more surprising was how well my husband liked the movie. We talked about it for quite some time after leaving the theater. It just left us thinking about so many things in life.

Although there were parts that were hard to watch, you couldn't help but be captivated by the classic tale of good vs. evil and love vs. hate. The movie did a great job of portraying the "illusion" of the grand circus life with the beautiful scenery and costumes versus the actual hardship behind the scenes. I can't remember the last time I went to a movie where the audience actually clapped, not only once, but twice. There was an overwhelming sense of justification at the end of this movie.

All the actors did a great job, including "Rosie". Rob Pattinson was able to convey so many emotions through his eyes, facial expressions, and actions. Reese Witherspoon was able to portray someone who was so strong yet vulnerable at the same time. And Christoph Waltz as August was the guy you loved to hate.

All in all, this has to be one of the best movies I've seen in a long time. I am so glad I went to see it and highly recommend it.

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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Solid Hollywood Nostalgic Drama

Author: movieexplosion from Ireland
10 May 2011

This movie seems to have been marketed as a romance. This is not a surprise given the recent success of Robert Pattinson in the Twilight franchise of movies. But this is inaccurate of what the movie is, certainly there is a romantic element, but it is also the story of one young man's journey to find himself after tragedy changes his current course in life and also an adventure in a forgotten time of hardship and survival.

From the opening which starts in current times we meet an old man who starts to tell the story of a significant period in his life many years ago, not unlike 'The Green Mile' & 'Titanic'. We are then transported back to 1930s America to see this story unfold. Jacob's(Pattinson) life is turned upside down with the death of his parents and an inability to support himself sees him hit the road without any solid plan. He jumps aboard a train only to find it belongs to a circus struggling to survive no doubt like many other enterprises during the great depression. Starting as a labourer his veterinarian skills become known to August the head of the circus played by Christoph Waltz, and he becomes part of the circus' 'family'. His wife the younger Marlena(Reese Witherspoon) is the star attraction of the show and catches the attention of Jacob.

Christoph Waltz with his brilliant performance in Inglourious Basterds may seem slightly typecast as the sadistic tyrant of this circus but he pulls it off well and you can see in the harshness of the times they live in how he can justify to himself to act as he does but you offer him no sympathy. His long suffering wife feels this reality is as good as it gets for her while young Jacob feels he can make a change in this unforgiving of circumstances. It is certainly an informative glimpse into tougher times given our current economic struggles in this day and age and may leave you counting your blessings. Witherspoon pulls off a good performance and Pattinson demonstrates that there is more to his range.

Overall this is a solid drama, I stress not just a romance that will keep you entertained and sufficiently satisfied after it's 2 hours. Oh, and there's an elephant in it too which is lovely!

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