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Water for Elephants
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Not a great dramatic movie with romance, but has enough positive elements to be worth a watch a least once

6/10
Author: KineticSeoul from United States
3 July 2011

I haven't read the book but heard good things about it, but still wasn't sure about this movie since book adaptation into a movie isn't always good. But since the book is good I decided to give this movie a try and from few small clips I seen Christoph Waltz seem to stand out because of his charisma and charm. And that is exactly what he had in this movie, he plays the role in a charming manner and also has charisma to back it up. Anyways Waltz was the main reason I decided to see this since his performance has been entertaining to watch since "Inglourious Basterds" where he played the Jew Hunter. He is indeed a captivating actor. Some people complain that this movie doesn't come close to how good the book is and is almost nothing like the book. I however didn't read the book the I can't compare the movie from the novel and will just review the movie as it is. The story takes place during the great depression and the prohibition, when the protagonist's parents die he has not other option to be on the road to find a job. Soon he end up joining a circus and falls for the ringleader's wife and the drama begins. This isn't a classic movie nor is it one of the great movies that takes place in the 1930's but it's a somewhat touching film that is worth seeing at least once. A lot of grandparents will probably enjoy watching this movie as well, especially as a couple. The cinematography and the design is well done including the environment such as set pieces, the acting was pretty darn good and the stunt people did a great job as well including the animals, especially the elephant. The film does has it's flaw with it's story since it isn't anything special, there just wasn't anything that really grabbed my attention and I like some romance movies. But still for a date movie it's worth seeing, there is probably isn't a lot for the male audiences though.

6.3/10

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A Titanic love story with a circus touch!

7/10
Author: ryokan_wc from Malaysia
26 June 2011

What attracted me to watch this movie was its promotional poster. It is simple, in a way, that manages to capture the intensity and imagination of what this movie might be. I did not read the book so i was clueless from the start. All i knew were what i derived from the title and the poster. A couple. Another man. Elephant. Circus. Water for elephants.

To be frank, i'm not a fan of its cast: Robert Pattinson (yes in Harry Potter Goblet of Fire and no in Twilight) or Reese Witherspoon (yes in Just Like Heaven, maybe in Monsters Vs Aliens). However, Robert Pattinson's performance, as Jacob in this movie, is surely commendable. Somehow, i could sense some resemblance of him to James Franco in 127 Hours. And his character is like Jack in Titanic. Christopher Waltz, who played villain, August, is another actor that deserved tremendous applause. His character moves the story forward, a character that demands great acting skills of its actor to deliver and Waltz nailed it- he portrayed his character perfectly.

The way the story is being told felt like watching Titanic, with a circus touch. It begins with the main character, who has aged, telling and reminiscing his days of his youth. The story flashes back to when it all began. It also shares the lower-upper class-like love story struggle. First thought, not very original. Predictable. But combining with circus life, it becomes a masterpiece. The story develops well, from how Jacob joins the circus troupe to becoming a man of attention, and the movie peaks at the right moment, leaving everything to fall into place. Additional credits as the script is beautifully written.

This story centralizes on issues like the abuse of animals in circus, and it is shown discreetly in some of the scenes. What the audience watches in the circus is an illusion performed at the commands of their master, August, and Jacob and Marlena (Reese Witherspoon) realize and see the pain inflicted on the animals and soon, their lives. There is a reason why this movie is entitled 'Water For Elephants' and my bet would be a reason pertaining to this. Watch it yourself and share with me your interpretation of the title.

In short, Water For Elephants is an intriguing movie with a solid development of its plot. A redeemed YES for Robert Pattinson. A good choice of movie to watch if you want an escape from computer-rich effect movies.

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I recommend "Water for Elephants"

6/10
Author: w11062 from United States
17 June 2011

Water for Elephants is a good movie. Not a great one. The movie is a good looking movie. The sets are nice. Reese Witherspoon is beautiful to look at. She shows charm. The chemistry between her and Robert Pattinson is not great. The love story could have been showed more. Christoph Waltz is too mean as August. He has too many anger scenes. There's cruelty to animals. Too much violence. The ending should have been more stronger. It is not the movie you go out of your way to see. If you and your wife or girlfriend were planning to spend a day at the beach or park and it rains, you want something to do, spend a couple of hours to see it. Water for Elephants is a good movie. Not a great one. The movie is a good looking movie. The sets are nice. Reese Witherspoon is beautiful to look at. She shows charm. The chemistry between her and Robert Pattinson is not great. The love story could have been showed more. Christoph Waltz is too mean as August. He has too many anger scenes. There's cruelty to animals. Too much violence. The ending should have been more stronger. It is not the movie you go out of your way to see. If you and your wife or girlfriend were planning to spend a day at the beach or park and it rains, you want something to do, spend a couple of hours to see it.

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visually stunning, good emotional romantic tale.

7/10
Author: khan2705 from Pakistan
31 May 2011

Based on the acclaimed bestseller, Water for Elephants presents an unexpected romance in a uniquely compelling setting. Veterinary school student Jacob meets and falls in love with Marlena, 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. Against all odds -- including the wrath of Marlena's charismatic but dangerous husband, August -- Jacob and Marlena find lifelong love.

well immediately after seeing this movie i wanted to rate it four stars since i was in that emotional magic of it, the ending basically. but now i think i should rate it 3.5 stars. i was waiting to see this movie, i don't know about the book it is based on but the trailer gave me chills seriously i loved it, the music and the look of it.

well its nice to see Robert Pattinson outside the Twilight movies, he tries Remember me but i haven't seen it i think it isn't that good. but this movie was a good movie for him. he really looked good and did a nice job in it. he plays a Veteran Doctor who is about to graduate but tragedy strikes him and he leave his house and embarks on a journey an unknown one and finds a train which belongs to the Benzini Bros Circus and he works there but they discovers he is a Vet and into animals and that is where he meets Reese Witherspoon character, Marlena who is a performer. he finds her very attractive and kind of feels something for her even though she is older than him and the owner's girlfriend who is August played by Christoph Waltz, the bad guy obviously.

Reese did a fine job but still she wasn't there completely. she looked strikingly beautiful and very gorgeous. it was just nice seeing her. Robert was okay and can do better but he looked good and the role really suited him. Christoph should actually try something different, he is always the bad guy in every movie now, he does a good job in this movie he was good. other actors were just fine Paul Schneider, Jim Norton , Hal Holbrook , Mark Povinelli , Richard Brake , Stephen Monroe Taylor and tons of others. performance wise nothing great but just fine. chemistry was good between them and romance looked real, well shown.

cinematography is superb and beautiful, stunning. also stunning art direction and costumes. wow lovely. everything was good visually. movie is surprisingly directed by the two sci fi movies director Francis Lawrence who directed Constantine and I am legend. movie is written above average, screenplay suffers a bit in the middle in few places which actually somewhat ruin this movie overall. that was a low point of it otherwise it was a spectacular and lovely romantic drama. movie was emotional too, towards the end i got tears in my eyes too, yes seriously. movie features animals too and those torture scenes were unbearable for me. i liked this movie and so will you. Watch it guys.

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Jacob finds himself on circus and falls in love with Marlena, the star-studded performer and who happens to be the circus manager's wife.

7/10
Author: butterbescotch from Philippines
29 May 2011

Water For Elephants, based on a novel by Sara Gruen, is a love story set on a circus during The Great Depression. Jacob accidentally hops off on a circus train, looking for a job. His application is about to be denied when he mentioned he is a veterinarian graduate from Cornell. August, the circus manager, take interest and hires him.

At that time, the circus is at the brink of quitting. August thinks an elephant would be the solution – by attracting more attention the circus can gain more profit. Rosie, the elephant, is untrained and knows nothing about tricks or following orders and thus the role of Jacob comes in. At work, Jacob falls in love with Marlena, the star-studded performer and happens to be August's wife. He knows his feelings would infuriate August and decides to hide it. But he can't.

The film starts off like Titanic. An aged man is full of stories and when he is prompted, he floods the asker with details. The whole events in the movie happens during the man's revelation.

If it's possible, the elephant is the star of the movie, at least as far as an animal can act. I felt horribly sad when she moans for help and flash his teary eyes or I'm at joy when she splashes water from her trunk, like a child eager to play. Also Christoph Waltz as August gives the thrilling and almost scary tension out of Jacob and Marlena's forbidden love. You might know him from the movie Inglourious Basterds. He's good.

What made me frown is the chemistry of Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon. I found none. I don't know if it's the age gap or the make- over but they don't look good together. True, in the novel Marlena is older than Jacob but I was hoping for an intimate couple and not lovers looking like an innocent mother-son relationship.

You will get what you paid for. There will be stunning circus performance like the elephant standing on a foot or two or sitting like a lady or posing like superman. The one-ring circus is dazzling together with the various performers. I heard the soundtrack before I saw the movie and it was moving. There are some dance songs and don't be embarrassed if you find yourself dancing. I perfectly understand it.

If you are okay with cliché love triangle but with a different setting and attitude, I bet you'll enjoy this. Well, my sister did.

Robert Pattinson is not bad after all. He is more than being the pale blood-sucking vampire. But it would be great to see him other than in a love story. In Harry Potter, he fits well with Cedric Diggory. Perhaps I have to watch his How To Be and Little Ashes for a personal verdict.What made me frown is the chemistry of Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon. I found none. I don't know if it's the age gap or the make- over but they don't look good together. True, in the novel Marlena is older than Jacob but I was hoping for an intimate couple and not lovers looking like an innocent mother-son relationship.

You will get what you paid for. There will be stunning circus performance like the elephant standing on a foot or two or sitting like a lady or posing like superman. The one-ring circus is dazzling together with the various performers. I heard the soundtrack before I saw the movie and it was moving. There are some dance songs and don't be embarrassed if you find yourself dancing. I perfectly understand it.

If you are okay with cliché love triangle but with a different setting and attitude, I bet you'll enjoy this. Well, my sister did.

Robert Pattinson is not bad after all. He is more than being the pale blood-sucking vampire. But it would be great to see him other than in a love story. In Harry Potter, he fits well with Cedric Diggory. Perhaps I have to watch his How To Be and Little Ashes for a personal verdict.

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Good looking film despite a story that is kind of predictable

7/10
Author: thomvic from Australia
29 May 2011

The funny thing about this film is that there isn't much water in it for the elephants but there is more mistreatment of them. This is a charming film that has all the elements that will make romantics go 'ahhh'. You have the impoverished handsome young man who is the underdog, has the heart of gold and is not only a charm with the ladies but also the animals. Add a bright vivid setting with trapeze artists and a show business like atmosphere, a train that takes them all from one location to another and then to top it off, how could you forget the young beautiful woman who is stuck with a guy who controls her as though she were one of his animals in the circus? So everything is totally predictable and cliché – but that is how it is meant to be. This doesn't take away the fun of the film because it is a pleasant and cheerful ride. This is helped by decent performances from Pattinson, Witherspoon and Christopher Waltz who make the trio of the love triangle.

Set in the era of the depression, Jacob (Pattinson), after his parents die which prevents him from taking his final exam in Veterinary Science, hits the road and ends up on a rail way train in his path. Soon discovering he has hopped on a circus train where the owner August (Waltz) is struggling to pay off debts and needs cash flow coming in, he gets a job scooping up animal dung, feeding them while also falling for the beautiful Marlena (Witherspoon) who performs in the circus with horses. For new publicity and hopefully t boost ticket sales, they get an elephant who will hopefully become a star attraction at the show. Jacob discovers he has a great form of communication with her and helps to make her a big hit.

This is a reminiscent film. It is told from the perspective of an older Jacob who goes into a flashback about his life and events. The good thing about films and stories told from an older version of the main character is that you know he made it out alive whatever the circumstances were! So hence it is more about whether he gets lucky in his earlier years and manages to overcome adversity in a way that is made entertaining for us.

The sets look great, the circus feel of the film reminded me of Big Fish with Ewan McGregor – obviously haven't seen a lot of films based in circuses. At the heart of the film is a story about where you go when you need a direction and how we all sometimes stick to what we know rather than find out what else is out there. This is the case with Marlena who represents the less daring character and Jacob who takes what is thrown at him.

I would have liked a bit more switching from past to present. Once you're five minutes into the film, it wastes no time in flashing back and not once does it switch back to the present to sort of get older Jacob's perspective. This does work – Titanic, Curious Case of Benjamin Button and a whole bunch of other films that contrast the two time situations.

The conclusion feels slightly rushed but the journey you take on with these characters is enjoyable, but nor is it groundbreaking or anything you haven't really seen before. Perhaps the atmosphere and look of the film makes the adversity a bit less hard as it should be. Pattinson proves that he is more than just Twilight Edward Cullen persona and does a convincing performance though he needs to work more on facial expressions sometimes. I did think to myself during the love scene that Pattinson feels way too young to be touching Witherspoon but hey this is a story about life isn't it?

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Much more than a love story

Author: ann098 from United States
26 May 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The grim life of the Depression and Prohibition is the backdrop and helps set the tone for Water for Elephants. Despite living a good and decent life, Jacob receives the difficult news that both his parents have died in a car accident. There wasn't any financial security left for Jacob so he decides to leave town prior to receiving his diploma in veterinary science from Cornell University. Jacob doesn't wallow in self-pity, but decides to hop a train that turns out to contain the Benzini Bros. circus. He soon realizes a new life that he didn't know existed. Even though he came from a stable and sheltered home, he was willing to work hard for his keep. His efforts were repaid with his eventual elevation to veterinarian. He confesses that he is not a degreed vet, but the circus owner, August, assures him that the world is run on tricks. Everything is an illusion to August.

Jacob soon falls for the beautiful Marlena, August's wife. August decides the new attraction will be an elephant named Rosie and Marlena will be her rider. He has high hopes that this will make the Benzini Bros. circus profitable at a time where they aren't filling seats and are forced to cut circus members weekly.

August's harmful physical control of the animals and Marlena are difficult for Jacob to view. Jacob empathizes with both and eventually shares a moment with Marlena that confirms their attraction to each other. August realizes he may be losing his wife to Jacob and decides to destroy them if he can't stop them. In the end, August is the one who is destroyed. The injustices that August threateningly held over his employees did not earn respect. His life of deceit and tricks was put in a downward spiral by them. Rosie was able to deliver the life taking blow that kills August. Marlena and Jacob escape and start their life together.

The title itself sheds light on the overall meaning of the film. Jacob discovers Rosie's sweet personality as the previous owners just think that she is a dumb elephant. When August physically abuses her for not following commands, she is profoundly injured and in pain. Jacob comes to her rescue with water laced with alcohol. When the cruelties and injustices of life befall upon the innocent, we all feel pain. Sometimes the best thing we can do is be present with them to take away the pain. In this case, Jacob was present and offered Rosie water with a sedative. He empathized with her and took care of her. Water for Elephants is much more than just a love story. It is a story about innocence, injustice, and empathy for the lives around us.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Christoph Waltz saves this movie from complete embarrassment. Miscast

3/10
Author: salderney-25728 from Coventry, UK
2 June 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Casting choices for this film are up there with the worst of them. Main character cast for his fan-base of teenage girls and certainly not his acting ability which is cringe inducing during most scenes. Yes folks,Robert Pattinson is the offending 'actor' here playing Jacob Jankowsky, played at the start of the film by Hal Holbrook. The old Jacob who is around 95, is discovered by circus staff long after the end of the show in a parking lot having run away from his nursing home after hearing the circus was in town. On discovering the old man once worked for a historic circus, the manager asks him to tell his story, so queue the narrative and now it is 1931. Jacob is a student vet who is given the tragic news of his parents demise just 2 minutes into his final exam, a rather unbelievable point that is central to the story. Would they have been any less dead had they waited 118 more minutes later,at least letting him finish his degree?

Anyway I digress. As they do not, having confirmed that his apparently well known parents were indeed his parents, dropped out of uni and discovered that his parents had financed his unfinished degree with a loan secured on all their assets thus leaving him with nothing, he decides to head for the city in search of work. He ends up jumping a train that happens to be a circus train where an alcoholic old workman with no authority at any other time in the film has the authority to stop the circus owner's evil henchman from throwing him off the moving train and later helps him get a job in the circus as it's vet.

He spots the circus owner's wife Marlena, played by Reese Witherspoon who is (well meant to be) a stunningly beautiful and super talented performer, the star attraction of the entire show no less, for whom he develops an infatuation. Now I have nothing against the actress as such, however the director in casting her again got it horribly wrong again. She is far too old for the character she plays and is not especially beautiful nor a performer so she just looks plain wrong as Marlena and I see little point delaying saying that her performance is probably the worst acting from her that I have seen. Whether she was trying to match her costar I know not, but she is very wooden and completely devoid of personality; not even slightly believable. Waltz plays August, the ruthless and psychotic circus master. He seems to suit such personalities rather well and it's thanks to his performance that this film isn't a complete train- wreck. (Sorry! Couldn't resist) When Jacob discovers a horse essential to Marlena's star act has a terminal condition and shoots it, August aquires an elephant and promotes Jacob to it's keeper. Initially unaware how to control the creature, there are problems which cause drama, especially when August looses his rag and attacks the poor creature to the disgust of his wife and Jacob, in fact everybody. While mad at August, Marlena starts falling for Jacob and things develop between the two, however following the assault, Jacob discovers the elephant does in fact perform really well but takes Polish commands. Due to this, their affair goes flat for a while until August next goes evil. This occurs one night when he notices a look between J and M looks far from benign. He then comes close to possibly killing J although is prevented by one of his henchmen.

The 2 then jump from the now moving train as it leaves town and flee to a hotel, where they finally sleep together. Barely finished, August's henchmen find them, grab Marlena and leave him a bloody mess. After they jumped off the train, an enraged August had his henchmen throw several workman off the moving train, killing two and engaging many more. The next show, some of the enraged folks sabotage the show causing chaos. In the resulting mayhem, August again tries killing Jacob, but Marlena stops him so instead he tries to kill her. This time he is stopped by the elephant,who also happens to kill him. J and M go off together, join a rival circus.. happily ever after.

So a thoroughly believable story then, made all the more believable by 2 main characters, one by their inability to act, highlighted by their tendency for sudden cheesy grinning where their only other expression - pouting feels unsuitable to him; the other by seemingly not having her heart in it, perhaps she felt as out of place as she looked but couldn't turn down the fat pay cheque?

If nothing else the film will serve as an indisputable example to others of both the result of terrible casting and how you can sadly still pull in the viewers on the strength of cast member's fan base regardless of the quality of the production. The few stars I gave were purely for the performance of the elephant and some of the other veterans involved and not at all the leading pair or director.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A Spectacular Show

9/10
Author: loveballet12 from United States
16 June 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Date: 15 June, 2012 -First Time Watch- After finishing the book 'Water for Elephants' I decided to watch the movie, thinking it may not be as spectacular as the book (though I admit the book was kind of disappointing. To my surprise, I actually really liked it. I liked how the movie began when Jacob went to the circus at the end of the book and began telling the story to the circus owner instead of doing flashbacks as Sara Gruen did in the novel. The only hard part about this movie was Rosie. That poor animal. How can any home just keep hitting and stabbing a poor animal? I for one was very happy when Rosie killed August in the end. That was very enjoyable since August deserved it. I thought Robert Pattinson, Reese Witherspoon and Christoph Waltz all did a fantastic job and were enjoyable to watch. One thing that did bother me about the movie adaption is that Walter wasn't in it as much as the book. Walter was my favorite character in the book so I was kind of disappointed that he wasn't in the movie as much. Overall a well done movie that deserved more recognition that it got. I didn't give this movie a ten because it is not one of my favorites.

9/10

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Jacob learns quickly that you have to go after what you want

7/10
Author: Debbie Seaborne from United States
25 April 2012

Jacob is an elderly escapee from the local nursing home who goes to track down the circus. Charlie, the head of the circus, manages to corral Jacob in his office and learns that Jacob has a long and distinct history with the circus. With Charlie's encouragement, Jacob begins to tell his story. As a young man, Jacob had set his sights on being a veterinarian. On the day he was to take his final test, news came that his parents had been killed. Jacob lost everything that day. His home, his parents, his career.

Jacob sets out for a new town and jumps a train, never suspecting that his life was about to change forever. Following the theme of this film, Jacob quickly learns that you have to go after what you want. The train turns out to be a circus train. He is nearly tossed off as a freeloader when he lies and tells August, the owner and ring master, that he is a vet. The circus, having many animals, was in need of a vet so Jacob was spared.

When Jacob first lays eyes on Marlena, the wife of August, he is smitten. August likes the status of having a circus vet so Jacob is quickly taken into the inner circle. Jacob begins to spend a lot of time with August and Marlena and his desire for Marlena grows as he also learns that August has an uncontrollable temper. Marlena returns Jacob's desire but keeps him at arms-length.

August acquires an elephant, Rosie, that turns out to be the main attraction along with Marlena. Jacob learns how to control Rosie by speaking Polish to her. Marlena begins to train with Rosie much as Esther Williams did in The Big Show. The angle of the camera in many shots makes Rosie look huge.

Life in the depression era was tough. Even the circus was affected but the film shows how life in the circus was filled with never ending activity. When the circus had financial difficulties, August would solve them by throwing workers off of the train while they were moving so that he did not have to pay them. Sometimes they survived and sometimes they did not. This activity was done in the dark of night which made the lighting quite important. They did a nice job with the lighting and shadows on the train.

Going after what he wanted, Jacob continues to spend time with Marlena. What follows is wrapped in adventure, drama, romance and death.

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