Water For Elephants
In the 1930s, the Depression hit America extremely hard. People were out of jobs; they were losing their houses. The Circus, as well as the burgeoning film industry, helped Americans everywhere forget their troubles for a few hours. As they laughed and marveled at the magic and splendor under the Big Top, all the realities of the cold, harsh world didn’t seem so terrifying. This is the setting for Water for Elephants, the film adaptation of Sara Gruen’s best-selling novel. Directed by Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend, as well as music videos for Lady Gaga, Beyonce and Justin Timberlake), Elephants stars Twilight hunk Robert Pattinson, Oscar winners Reese Witherspoon (Walk the Line) and Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds).
Jacob Jankowski (Pattinson) is a veterinary student who suddenly becomes an orphan and loses his house the same week. Without a home, he walks along train tracks only to be picked up by a traveling circus train. At first he's hired to do odd jobs. But once ringmaster/owner August Rosenbluth (Waltz) discovers Jacob has studied animal science, he is officially hired as circus vet. Jacob strikes up a close relationship with the circus’s star performer and August’s wife Marlena (Witherspoon) and soon discovers that beneath the Big Top is as much pain and cruelty as in the real world.
First things first: Pattinson, when not playing a sparkly, drugged-up emo, emotionally abusive vampire, is actually a handsome, charming and quite competent actor. He’s not a Tom Hanks or a George Clooney yet but he definitely has potential. More quality roles like this will take him places.
Waltz does an extension of the character-type that won him an Oscar: the charming, oddly endearing sadist. August is full of complexities and contradictions and it makes for an exciting performance.
Witherspoon is a talented actress whether she is playing “Woods Comma Elle” in Legally Blond or the pregnant wife of a terrorist suspect in Rendition. Her performance here is subdued and restrained.
The supporting cast is fine, even though they don’t get much room in the narrative. Rosie, the titular elephant, is quite a character herself. Her actions in the climax got a round of applause in my theater.
While Elephants is an entertaining movie, it’s missing that extra spice to take it to that Titanic or The Notebook level of epic romance. I think it’s because all of Jacob’s scenes with Marlena are interrupted or rushed, so we really don’t get to see them in a purely romantic setting.
Despite that, there’s still a magical feel to the movie. I don’t know whether it’s the quiet glamour of the 1930s, the old-time circus setting or simply Witherspoon’s even more radiant than usual beauty. Whatever it is, the film rises above its flaws and provides a very satisfying cinematic experience.
Danielle Panabaker's Top Pop Picks
"I'm really into the Avett Brothers as of late."
"My girlfriends are I - we are very nerdy. We started a book club and the first book we read was Gone Girl."
"I thought it was a great film and I thought Jennifer Lawrence was incredible, you know those angry tears, I've certainly experienced that."
Most Popular Videos
- Jane Lynch And Craig Robinson Video Interview On 'Escape From Planet Earth'
- Adrien Brody Video Interview On Judging The Bombay Sapphire Imagination Film Series, Playing Houdini
- George Lopez Video Interview On 'Escape From Planet Earth'
- Thandie Newton Video Interview On 'Rogue,' Learning To Shoot A Gun
- Kevin Smith Video Interview On His New Book, 'Tough Sh*t,' Mitt Romeny, Bruce Willis
Top Comedy Videos
Sex & Sci-Fi: Summer's Hottest Movies & Men - Your Tango
- Celebrity Sex Talk: 6 Craziest Things Heard This Week - Your Tango
- Why ‘Man of Steel’ Didn’t Use ‘Superman’ in the Title - MovieFone
- 10 Hot Hollywood Husbands Changing The World - Your Tango
- Taylor Swift Cozying Up With Harry Styles - PlanetFashionTV