* Prices may differ from that shown
The film starts with the elderly Jacob who is in his nineties and is in a care home who goes to speak to the young proprietor of the circus. At first the younger man tries to find out what home he has come from in order to return him but when they start speaking it transpires that Jacob was part of the Benzini Brothers circus from the era of the Great Depression and was very much involved in the life and the tragic ending of this great circus. The film then goes back and shows the twenty three year old Jacob played by Robert Pattinson who had been studying veterinary medicine at Cornell but after his parents died in a car crash leaving him with no money and huge family debts he packs a small case and ups and leaves. Jacob has nowhere particular to go and is just walking away from his town when he sees a circus train passing and decides to jump on.
He soon meets August played by Christoph Waltz who is the owner of the circus and is given his first job of mucking out the animals. As soon as he spots Marlena who is played by Reece Witherspoon you can see that he is instantly attracted to her however she is married to August albeit he is controlling and often violent towards her. Marlena's act in the circus is riding the star horse Silver and performing wonderful acrobatic tricks on him, however due to Jacob's former training he soon notices that the horse has a problem and discloses his veterinary training to August who instructs him to treat Silver, which leads to disastrous consequences.
Jacob soon realises that Rosie was not responding to the English language as she had been trained in the Polish language and as soon as Jacob started speaking to her in this language Rosie soon began to learn the performances and routines which were expected of her. In this time Jacob and Marlena admit their feelings for each other and they run away to a hotel however when August finds out he sends his men to bring Marlena back to the circus and beat Jacob. When Jacob returns to the circus to get Marlena he discovers that August has thrown some of his friends off the train and killed them, but also that some of the other circus members were taking a stand against his cruel ways and they let some of the big animals out during a packed circus performance.
I won't go into too much detail of what happens next as it would spoil it if anyone is going to watch the film and has not read the book or knows what happens, but I will just say that it has quite a spectacular ending and I do recommend this film.
Robert Pattinson is in a hurry to drop the vampire Goth thing and build a new kind of fan base. His mainstream heartthrob in ‘Remember Me’ was classic rebel without a cause and Water for Elephants holiday season family fun. More sophisticated movies Cosmopolis and Bel Ami didn’t really work for him as he is simply too pretty for those roles to be taken seriously, why he fell back into what cinema knows best with his straightforward romantic hero here.
After his parent’s death, college kid Jacob Jankowiski (Robert Pattinson) runs away. He now finds himself a stowaway riding on the Circus Vargas Train. The ringmaster and owner is August (Christoph Waltz), an unbalanced man but willing to give the kid a go. August has a nasty reputation of ‘redlining’ people on the train when they are no longer needed, his goons throwing them off from moving railcars, a law on to himself on this train.
Jacob fails an early test when he puts down the star act; a white horse ridden by August’s pretty wife Marlena (Reece Witherspoon), resulting in his near redlining as money is tight and no one told the kid he could kill the lame horse. But soon he is accepted and things calm down when they buy an elephant for the show and ticket sales increase. But Jacob has taken a shine to Marlena, August a jealous and brutal man who not only takes his emotions out on the people but the animals, not exactly the sort of guy you want running a circus. Can Jacob keep his hands off the fillies and on the animals or will temptation be his downfall?
It’s ok and an ideal film to watch with the older kids at Christmas. Pattinson is one of those actors that drag’s his young box-office around with him, regardless of the film. It’s not a cheap movie though and came in at $38 million, the $58 million back firmly on the stars young shoulders. Bad teeth co-star Witherspoon was clearly cast alongside as she looks as emaciated and bony as the irritating Kristen Stewart.
Its enjoyable enough and a fun two hours. Not too flabby although no real chemistry between the young lovers. Austrian actor Christoph Waltz is good as the boss under pressure and only cast at the last when Sean Penn dropped out to do the pretentious movie Tree of Life. It ticks along nicely and although some cruelty to animal expressed its still a holiday movie at heart. I would say there is enough traditional fairytale romantic storyline here to draw in young girls who don’t drawl over Pattinson and enough for adults to enjoy with them, very much an old 1940s style traditional matinee. For me Silver the elephant is the star with his amazing array of tricks and human like behavior, the cast clearly giggling away in the movie as the trunk fails to behave.
Water for Elephants is a book adaptation of Sara Gruens Novel of the same name. It was released in 2011 and is directed by Francis Lawrence. I saw it at the cinema back in 2011 and have recently bought it on DVD and watched it again.
The film is set in the 1930s during the Great Depression in America. We are introduced to 23 year old Jacob (Robert Pattinson) who abandons his final exams in training to become a Veterinarian after his parents are both killed in a car accident. After running away he comes across a travelling circus train and decides to get on board. It turns out the train is for the Benzini Brothers Circus and after Jacob is reported to the circus owner August Rosenbluth (Christoph Waltz) who initially threatens to throw him off, but upon learning that he is trained in veterinary medicine he decides to keep him and hire him as their in-house vet for the circus animals.
Jacob soon meets Marlena (Reece Witherspoon) the wife of August whom he is immediately drawn to. Marlena also has an interest and passion for animals and works alongside them in several circus acts. When August acquires an elephant, Rosie, to add to the circus Marlena and Jacob are assigned to work together to train her and we see the pair become closer. Before he knows it Jacob has become a close friend to August and spends a lot of time with him. He soon learns that August and Marlenas marriage is a troubled one in which August takes out his aggression on her. And at the same time it is clear that Marlena and Jacob have feelings for each other...
I must admit that on paper the basic plot doesn't exactly sound thrilling, yet the film does have a lot to offer. Firstly I liked the setting and it was enjoyable watching a film set back in the 1930s for a change. It allowed a degree of escapism in form of the era setting yet kept this down to earth with its uncensored portrayal of the troubles that went with that era. The entire film was convincing to the era and came across really well.
The plot was interesting and the dilemma created was good enough to make the viewer care. The plot moved slowly giving you chance to take everything in and enjoy the scenery, and it followed quite a normal pattern of relative calm throughout with a climax at the end, followed shortly by a conclusion. I thought the plot style and movement suited the content and made for good watching. This film wouldn't have suited being fast paced or one with twists.
The main areas covered by the film are morals - or lack of in the case of August and relationships between people. The film takes these issues to the extremes presenting two different extremes of relationship type - Marlena who is naturally caring and loving, in contrast to August who is selfish and evil. And then the contrast of morals between the two, Marlena who cares about the animals, and August who is cruel to them and only cares about the money. Therefore the film provides several moral dilemmas throughout which made for entertaining, if not quite upsetting viewing.
The film is generally sad throughout yet never came across as depressing, otherwise I most likely wouldn't have watched it again. It brings in a level of lightheartedness through other characters and comical scenes. These scenes allowed for some relief from the more sombre parts and gave the film a nice balance. As an animal lover I did find one particular scene quite disturbing, and after remembering it from the first time round I decided to leave the room when watching it again at home, just for that part. It is difficult to define what type of film this is. I suppose essentially it is a romantic drama, however I felt there was a bit more to it than that and it was better than other films that would fall into that genre category.
I wasn't expecting much from this film in terms of acting. I had only ever seen Robert Pattinson in the Twilight films which, whilst I like them, aren't exactly known for excellent acting skill! And I tend to associate Reece Witherspoon with rom-coms and nothing else. However the pair actually gave a surprisingly good performance which I enjoyed. They both fit well within the era the film was based in and gave convincing performances throughout.
I thought Christoph Waltz had the most challenging and complex role to play though and he pulled it off perfectly and definitely came across as the better actor in the film. His character August was an unusual troubled man, who needed to come across not just as straightforward evil (which would have been easy) but evil in an unpredictable way with a troubled edge. He managed this really well and created a complex edgy character.
I thought this film offered something different from the norm and was executed really well. The storyline was interesting and the production of the 1930s setting and people was convincing and enjoyable to watch. The acting was strong and the cast all suit their roles well. Therefore I would recommend the film and say it is well worth a watch.
= = = = = =
A veterinary student abandons his studies after his parents are both killed in a car crash. Jacob joins a travelling circus as their vet and soon falls for a married circus performer. When Jacob meets Marlene its love at first sight. Their shared affections for an extraordinary elephant stirring profound feelings of compassion within them both. Theirs is a love that could span lifetimes, although the wrath of Marlena's dangerously domineering husband August threatens to spell tragedy for all involved.
Actors in the Film
= = = = = = = =
Marlena - Played by Reese Witherspoon and is a well-known actress who has also starred in Legally Blonde, This Means War, Walk the Line and more.
Jacob - Robert Pattinson, mostly known for his main role in Twilight, Remember Me and Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire.
August - Christopher Waltz, has also starred in Inglorious Bastards, Carnage, The Green Hornet and more.
There are also many other actors in this film, how-ever these only play small parts and aren't very well known actors so I think writing information about them all isn't really necessary.
= = = =
The film starts off by us seeing Jacob as a much older man who has left his nursing home to go to see a local circus. One of the people who work for the circus finds him and invites him into his office so he can ring the home and get Jacob transported back there. Jacob and the man get talking about the circus and here the older Jacob tells his story. A then young Jacob gets some bad news at the beginning of the film and he has to leave home and try to start a new life by himself with no money and very little belongings. Whilst Jacob is walking in the darkness he passes a train line and decides to jump on one of the carriages on the train to go to a new place, although he has no idea where. Here he meets a group of older men and show him a place where he can sleep during the night. When Jacob awakes in the morning the train has stopped and he realises he is travelling with a circus where people from all over the world come to see. We see the dedicated members of the circus put up the big top ready for the circus and all the animals that will be used in the show. Jacob soon gets roped into helping with the circus duties such as cleaning out the animals and keeping guard in some of the tents to stop un-paying visitors from entering. During this time he notices the beautiful Marlena who performs in the circus along with some beautiful horses. The circus packs up ready to move onto their next destination with Jacob joining them along the way again. Jacob gets a job in the Circus as the vet and helping out with the care and treatment of the animals. When one of the horses has to be put down they need to find a replacement for the star of their show. Instead of getting another horse August decides to get an elephant instead which will be the new attraction of their show. Jacob soon makes friends with all the other people travelling in the circus and takes the jokes and pranks they play on him with a pinch of salt. Jacob takes the job of training the elephant and being in charge of her and he soon realises that August treats the animal with very little respect. I found one of the scenes in where August pokes the elephant with a sharp metal ended stick upsetting as he is clearly causing the animal pain and harm. During the rest of the film we see Jacob and how much he cares for the elephant. August is furious that the elephant as messed up one of their performances and goes to take it out on the elephant. Although you don't see this happening I found the scene quite distressing and it bought a tear to my eye. Jacob is disgusted at the way August treats the animals and so is Marlena. We soon learn that August isn't a very nice character in the film and he's quite often an angry, violent person. We also see Marlena and Jacob get closer to each other as well as the elephant soon becoming a star attraction of the circus. August soon senses something going on between Jacob & Marlene and Jacob has to leave the train before August sends his men to find him. Will Marlene leave the circus to join Jacob or will she stay in the circus and carry on with role as star of the show?
Where to buy the DVD
= = = = = = = = = =
You can purchase the DVD from Amazon for just £3.99. To buy the DVD on Blu-Ray it costs a little more at £6.99. The DVD can also be purchased from Play.com and HMV; how-ever prices may vary.
= = = = = = = =
* Robert Pattinson Spotlight
* Feature Performer Reese Witherspoon
* The Travelling Show - Page to Screen
* Audio Commentary
I didn't watch any of the Special Features so I can't comment on how good they were or what they are like.
= = = = = = =
Right from the very beginning of the film I enjoyed every single part from Jacob first joining the circus, watching the shows right up until the end of the film. I thought the storyline to the film was great and the actors do a really job at playing the different characters. I did find some of the scenes with the animals a little upsetting and some of these bought a slight tear to my eye. This is the first film I have watched with Robert Pattinson in (No, I haven't even seen Twilight yet!) and I think he's a brilliant actor. The film had my full attention throughout and I enjoyed every minute of the film. The film is set back in more of the older days when traveling circuses were then popular. There is some action towards the end of the film such as fighting scenes between members of the circus. The film has a really nice ending which I'm not even going to mention as I don't want to spoil it for others for haven't yet seen the film. The film isn't the most romantic film that I have seen, but it does have a lovely romantic story to it. I wouldn't say this is just a chick flick and I know many guys who would also enjoy this film. The film is a great film to cuddle up with your partner and watch. This is probably one of my top 5 films that I have watched this year. Highly recommended.
(review also on ciao)
I saw this last year when it was in the cinema and thoroughly enjoyed it. I have never read the book, of the same name, by Sara Gruen - though I do own a copy and working my way round to reading it. I recently bought it on DVD and having watched it for the second time thought I would share my thoughts.
The film is told in the form of a flashback, it begins in the present day with an old man visiting a small travelling circus. He has become separated from his nursing home group and while the circus employees try to find out who he was with and how to return him to their care he reveals that he once worked in in a circus. He in fact was part of a circus infamous for a notorious circus disaster and the owner of the circus asks him to share the story, and so begins the flashback.
The majority of the film is set during the Great Depression, 1930s America. Jacob Jankowski is a 23 year old Polish America who is about to graduate in Veterinary Science from Cornell University. During his final exam he is told that his parents have been killed in a car crash and that his father has left him with no financial assets to speak of. He does not return to Cornell but instead chooses to run away from his problems and hitches a ride on a circus train. Upon his discovery he summoned to see August the cruel and unpredictable circus owner who tell his men to throw Jacob off the train. In the grapple that ensues Jacob reveals his credentials as a vet and so is allowed to stay on the train and work with the circus.
Jacob is instantly attracted to August's beautiful wife and star performer, Marlena. When Jacob tells August that Marlena's horse Silver is sick and cannot be healed August forces him to get the animal ready for a show the next day. Jacob goes behind Augusts' back and tells Marlena who kills the horse humanely to save it from the pain. August is outraged but retains Jacob's services because he has prevented Marlena from becoming hurt through his actions. On their journey they come across a circus that has gone bust and is selling their animals cheaply. August buys Rosie, an elephant, cheaply and ask Jacob to train her. August is brutal and impatient with Rosie and beats her when she does not perform in the way he wishes. Jacob and Marlena try desperately to prevent him from hurting her and Jacob in particular shows Rosie a great deal of compassion. However, Jacob discovers Rosie was trained in Polish and thus unlocks the power August needs to get her to perform.
As the show becomes increasingly successful so do Jacob's feelings for the beautiful and enchanting Marlena. Her relationship with August is clearly complicated and he can be jealous and rough with her. Jacob is young and attractive and they fall for one another, though have to be careful to hide their relationships from violent August. Eventually they are discovered and Jacob beaten up. He returns to the circus to try and find Marlena and discovers that August has killed two of his friends by throwing him off the train. There is an exciting and powerful ending to the film which feels apt considering the plot.
The filmis truly enchanting, I think what is most powerful about it is the sense of period and atmosphere created in the film so well. The colours are vivid and exciting and the beauty of the circus is truly evoked in every scene. But represented in the film is also the darker nature of these circus acts, how they cut costs and how they maltreated their animals. It is both an exciting and sad film with many poignant parts which are enhanced by the beautiful music.
The cast are also really fantastic in this film. Robert Pattinson is surprisingly convincing as Jacob. I am proud to say I've never seen the twilight movies but I was dubious about his credibility as an actor and whether he would be great in this film or not. He really is captivating and he really embodies his role, Jacob is acted in a very realistic and believable way. Reese Witherspoon is also a revelation for me. I've seen her in Legally Blonde and other underwhelming films but in this she is amazing. As Marlena she needs to be mysterious and enchanting and she is just that, you can totally see why Jacob falls for her in the way he does. Her care for the animals she works with is clear and her hatred of her husbands cruelty is apparent throughout the film. There are also notable performances from Cristoph Waltz, as August, and Hol Holbrook, as an aged Jacob.
The DVD was in HMV on the 2 for £10 deal so I suppose it cost me £5, which is fairly cheap for a recent release. I think it is well worth the money and is definitely something I will watch again and again. The film was given a 12a certificate, and other than the obvious theme of adultery I would say the only other worry for young viewers is the violence towards animals. That said you never really see much of either, it is just hinted at so my advice to parents would be to watch it and make a judgement call depending on the sensitivity of your child. For all other viewers this is suitable for both men and women and really anyone of any age too.
Overall, I think this is a magical and evocative film which captures the beauty and cruelty of circus life.
I was intrigued at watching this movie after I saw the trailer; I like dramatic films like this and it kind of reminded me of 'Australia'. The film is adapted from the book of the same name by Sara Gruen.
The cover for the DVD is pretty dramatic and does sum up the key elements of the movie. The colours are beautiful and represents the time period of which it is set.
~~~THOUGHTS ON PLOT~~~
Jacob (Robert Pattinson), after losing his parents to a car crash and subsequently everything else, comes across a travelling circus of the Benzini Brothers. Working for them as their vet, he soon rises in the ranks and becomes August (Christoph Waltz)'s right hand man. Obtaining an elephant Rosie for a new act, August assigns Jacob to train it as their star attraction, with August's wife Marlena (Reese Witherspoon). But the pair soon fall in love and must avoid the wrath of August.
I thought that the film was a tad long overall and it took a while to set up. However, once the film got going, it was a really enjoyable movie. The circus elements were very enjoyable as it does bring that element of surprise and as you watch the audiences wowed, you too are wowed. Those parts made the film go quite quickly.
I also really liked Rosie the elephant- there was a real connection with the camera and I was really engaged at how much personality they managed to give it. I loved that it is so clever, understood Polish and likes drinking alcohol.
The lead up to the ending was really tense and the ending was appropriately climatic though the resolve dragged a bit- I would've just liked it to be short and sweet, but still it was good.
Reese Witherspoon- Marlena
Robert Pattinson- Jacob
Christoph Waltz- August
Also stars Hal Holbrook, Paul Schneider and Jim Norton.
Reese Witherspoon was quite convincing and was stunning in costume. This is the first film I've seen Robpat in so I don't hold any prejudgments on his acting. It wasn't THAT bad- though at times he could've been a bit more natural. The funny thing with these two is that they were previously in a film together where Witherspoon was Pattinson's mother- which makes their now romantic role slightly awkward. I think the film they were in previously was 'Vanity Fair'. Correct me if I'm wrong.
Overall, 'Water for Elephants' is a strong romantic drama revolving around the circus in the 1930s. There are some beautiful scenes and builds up to one tense and climatic finish. Whilst there is a slight awkwardness with Robpat's acting, the film is not ruined and is a solid, engaging film.
Yet another film that I really didn't want to ever see was this one. Don't get me wrong I am a massive fan of Twilight and am Team Edward all the way (Robert Patterson) but this film, well it just didn't appeal to me at all maybe because of the title and also cos I'm yet to be impressed by any other film that Robert stars in. I can't say I've ever been all all that impressed by Reese Witherspoon all that much either in the the stuff I've seen her in, however my best mates dad dropped us a huge stack of dvds tto watch the other day and we made the pact we would watch evry single one even though neither of us particulary wanna sit down and watch a film about the smurfs....but there you go lol!
We start the film by meeting Jacob (Robert Patteron) who is living with his Polish parents and living a rather good life in America and is studying to finish a Vetinary course he is taking. However when in his final exam he gets asked out by the examiners to be told his parents are dead and his world falls apart.
The tradgey becomes even worse when Jacob becomes homeless after their death and with no family to turn to he simply jumps on a train as a bit of a stow away and gets caught by ome rough men on it. He's on a travelling circus train and lands himself a job, not just any job but blags his way in as a vet so gets a bit of a result really.
This is where he meets the cirrus owners wife Marlena (reese Witherspoon) who is the star attraction, aloof at first and blissfully happy with her husband August (Christoph Waltz) it seems.
Howevever August isn't a nice man, he's a control freak and ambitious and like his drink a little too much.
Through a horse that needs putting down that Marlena loves and then August replacing it with a elephant called Rosie, Marlena and Jacob become rather friendly and this particulary happens when August tries to show Jacob how with a bull stick to get Rosie to perform and ends up beating her and injuring her rather badly.
Jacob soon gets a tight bond with Marlena and Rosie and in fact makes friends with all of the circus team and soons feels very much at home and part of the 'family'.
However everything is an illusion, things can get volatile at anytime with August and his heavymen at the helm and they are not above disposing of 'acts' they no longer want or need and what if Jacob annoys August in some way?
I really thought I was going to absoloutely hate and detest this film but actually really I loved it. I liked the way Jacob's character showed him as an old man and starting off the story and we go though his life at the circus and then back to him. I thought Robert Patterson smouldered thoughout this film and that his acting was superb and the electricity at times between him Reece I could feel. Reece howecer I did feel was a little wooden at times and I have to say that although she's not a bad actress she isn't amazing either and got totally outshone by Rosie the elephant! There was scenes of animal violence in the film which did upset me alot as when it comes to animals I am a sensitive soul however the scenes were vital to understand the ending....they say an elephant never forgets....watch the film you'll totally understand that statement!
The musics good, the atmosphere is great and the set is stunning. I loved seeing all the amazing animals and felt in the crowd at times and although this is a rather slow paced film at times it really is a lovely watch!
Available fro Amazon for £6.99 (new including postage and packaging costs).
This review is also posted on Ciao under this same username.
About the film
Water For Elephants is a 2011 romantic drama film that was based on the novel of the same name, written by Sara Gruen. The film is 120 minutes long and is rated 12A due to scenes of intense violence and a sexual nature. It was distributed by 20th Century Fox and after having a budget of $38 million, it has gone on to make over $117 million at the box office.
During the Great Depression, Jacob Jankowski's parents are killed during his final exam where he was training to be a vet. After being told of his father's massive debts, the house is sold and Jacob is left with nothing and no longer feels like he wants to carry on with his education. While trying to find himself a new life, Jacob happens to jump on the train of the Benzini Brothers Circus where he meets performer Marlena and her husband, head of the circus, August. After saying that he has studied veterinary science at Cornell, Jacob is hired as the circus' vet.
As he spends more time with Marlena and the circus, he realises that everything is not as it should be. August is not a nice man and treats both animals and people with disrespect, something that Jacob doesn't agree with at all. It's all on him to save the woman he loves and the circus from a terrible fate.
Reese Witherspoon as Marlena Rosenbluth
Robert Pattinson as Jacob Jankowski
Christoph Waltz as August Rosenbluth
Tai as Rosie, the elephant
James Frain as Rosie's caretaker
Hal Holbrook as Older Jacob Jankowski
Paul Schneider as Charlie O'Brien
Ken Foree as Earl
Tim Guinee as Diamond Joe
Mark Povinelli as Kinko/Walter
Scott MacDonald as Blackie
Jim Norton as Camel
Richard Brake as Grady
What I thought
Outside of Twilight, Robert Pattinson is actually a pretty decent actor. Who would have thought it possible? Certainly not me. However, I did quite like him in Remember Me as well. Pattinson plays the role of Jacob, a man who loses everything and has to start over. Immediately I felt sorry for Jacob and wanted him to find his feet again. I really enjoyed how his story began as it showed him as an old man, wanting to get back the feeling of his youth. Pattinson brings a youthful cockiness to someone that I think would have been pretty timid otherwise. At the same time though, Jacob comes across as quite innocent but charming. Jacob is maybe a little naive but only due to his lack of life experience at the beginning of the film. Pattinson manages to mix all of these personality traits together really well and makes his character likeable because of them.
Reese Witherspoon plays love interest and an act in the circus, Marlena. She seems to be an actress who can pull off any role and hers in Water For Elephants is no different. Playing Marlena meant that Witherspoon had to do stunts that involved some of the animals. I have no idea when/ if she changed with a stunt double but the scenes of this nature were extremely impressive. Marlena was a character that I could immediately connect with, considering she was in a relationship she couldn't get away from. The characters that Witherspoon normally plays are likeable and that is no exception here. I couldn't help but feel sorry for her and wish for a good outcome.
Playing Marlena's husband August is Christopher Waltz. As villains go, he could have been much better. While he does a good job of being an arsehole, he isn't amazing at it either. I didn't like his character but I didn't completely hate him either and I should have. August is a character who thinks he is right at all times and doesn't like to be proved wrong so his arrogance showed through all of the time. There were times during the film where you could see there was a lot more to him than meets the eye but this wasn't shown nearly enough. I would have loved to have found out what was really going on in his head but I guess this wasn't done so that the audience didn't end up liking him at all.
So what else is there in this film apart from the amazing cast? A lot actually. As the plot surrounds the Benzini Brothers Circus, the majority of scenes are from here. For me, the circus has always been a really exciting and interesting event to go to and I wondered how this one would be shown. Director Francis Lawrence does an amazing job and the film is visually stunning in every way possible. The scenes at the circus are truly exceptional, showing both what happens in the tent and out of it. The actual acts at the circus aren't shown very much at all and when they are, the scenes focus more on Marlena and what she can do. That being said, what glimpses I did get to see were impressive. Here, I have to mention the animals. There are some scenes which can be disturbing concerning animal cruelty in circuses during the time period but I think they were done in the right context and obviously, no animals would have actually been hurt during filming.
The costume and set design are really what make this film so special though. In contrast to the workers at the circus, who wear earthy colours and look very drab, the main characters look wonderful. As the ring leader, August is dressed in wonderful stiff shirts, clean and classic trousers along with more extravagant items like smoking jackets and of course, his circus outfit. Marlena gets two different looks really - her performance outfits which consist of next to nothing leotards covered in glitter and sparkle but also her non work outfits. For this, she gets to wear some amazing clothes making her look smart, sophisticated but also a kept woman at times.
While there is so much about this film that is wonderful, it also has things that are bad. As I said earlier, the film begins with Jacob as an old man and here is where I had a problem. Yes, I know it is the beginning of the film but here is why: Jacob explains what he wants and why and then certain things are said which pretty much gives away the whole plot. Within the first five minutes, my hopes had been shattered and I figured out a lot of what was going to happen. Had this not have happened so early on, I wouldn't have minded. After this, the plot wasn't a surprise t me at all which was very unfortunate.
Without the terrible opening, Water for Elephants is a great film.
After a particularly bad day recently I came home to find my partner ready and prepared with dinner, wine and a dvd. The dvd was Water for Elephants with Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson and I had been desperate to watch it since it was released here! My partner got some major brownie points for remembering my enthusiasm at the trailor and renting it for me!
I have to say that I do watch most films that both Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson are in. In fact Sweet Home Alabama and the Twilight series both factor on my top ten favourites list so that goes to show how excited I was to watch something that featured two of my favourite actors.
Water for Elephants is set in the depression of the 1930's in America. At the beginning of the film we are introduced to Jacob Jankowski (Pattinson) who is a young man from a modest home who is on the brink of completing his college years and qualifying as a vet. On the day he sits his final exams he is called from the examination to be told his parents have both been killed in a car crash. Things get worse for the young man when he realises that his parents re-mortgaged their house in order to pay for his college tuition. Within days the young man has gone from having the entire world at his feet to being homeless, penniless and totally alone. He sets off on foot to nowhere without realising that the walk he is making is the walk of his life.
He quickly finds himself walking on a train line when a train approaches. In an instant he drops his only bag and runs to jump on. Acheiving this he is greeted by a group of men happy enough to throw him back out but as it turns out he is saved by a kind old man. Turns out the train is one of the famous travelling circuses of America. And so begins the story of Jacob Jankowski, the boy who truly ran away and joined the circus.
The plot follows Jacob as he uses his mind to his advantages and secures his right to stay with the circus by prooving his value as a vet for the animals. Along the way he meets the owner of the circus whose name is August and is extremely volatile and violent. Jacob then meet his beautiful wife Marlena (Witherspoon) who's act with beautiful black and white stallions is the star of the show. However August's possesive nature should warn Jacob away from Marlena but in true romantic style his intrest can not be quelled.
The plot continues for 120 minutes and is a real journey of discovery for both the audience and the characters. The caption of the film is 'Life is the most spectaculor show on earth' and the film is excellent in portraying the magic that love brings in a setting surrounded by illusions, and it's ability to show it's true beauty compared to things that are purposely supposed to give this very illusion.
The film is one of the best in it's genre I have seen. Directed by Francis Lawrence it made over $20 million dollars in profit and I can see why. It's magic and appeal is beautiful and the story is soft and although it's not fast paced this works well with the train in which almost all of the film is set, as it also moves slowly across the country. You will watch this film and fall in love with it. You wont find one particular moment that makes you go 'wow' but indeed the overall appeal of this film is it's magical and simple beauty and the story is sweet natured and heartwarming.
I'm not usually a fan of these sorts of films as I expect them to have the sort of ending that makes me bawl my eyes out but this film captivated me. The animals used in the film including Rosie the elephant really stole my heart and opened my mind to a type of film I've not seen and loved as much as this. Pattinson delivered an absolutely stunning and truly believable performance as Jacob and Witherspoon was good although I must say not her best performance still exceptional by anyone's standards.
My only critism is the lack of sexual chemistry between the two. I've seen them interviewed and they seem to get on very well in a very brother and sister like relationship. This could perhaps be why their didn't seem to be any real chemistry between the two. When a film this captivating is trying to show a great love story I need to be able to believe it and I believed that Jacob was deeply besottd with Marlena but not vice versa which made me question the characters emotion before deciding it was actually Witherspoon's lack of chemistry towards the relationship. However it's not totally unbelievable it's just not 'up there' with some of the most absorbing love stories based on the characters relationships. It is still easily believable, perhaps I'm just too sinacle!
Over it gets a great five stars from me. This film stole my heart and is one I will remember for a long time. In fact I would happily watch it again and thats always the sign of a great film for me! If you haven't seen it then I recommend you do and if you want some major brownie points then invest in a copy for your wife/girlfriend this Christmas, she will love you for it!
It takes alot for a film to hold my attention for more than 10 minutes, and this one certainly did. Water for elephants I have recently found was adapted from a book.Usually in this situation the film is for less superior to the book. Having never read the book I am looking forward to reading it as the film is amazing.
All the way through the film I was wondering who the lead male was. Then I remembered it was Robert Patterson and I had watched him for about 2 minutes in those awful twilight films. If I would have known it was him before I wouldn't have watched the film, but surprisingly he played his character Jacob perfectly.
The film is narated by Jacob as an old man in the present day telling the story of his youth. Jacob starts out as a promising vetenairy student from a Polish family. One day tradgedy hits and he joins the circus looking after their animals. He then meets the ringmaster and his wife Marleena played by Reese Witherspoon. In most films I find her slightly annoying and plastic but here she plays her character very well. The film is mainly about the relationship between the three and,their elephant Rosie. Marleenas husband August is very controlling and a bit of a phsyco. Will anything come of this love triangle or will Augusts gansters triumph? You will just have to see.
This film is set in 1930's america. The sets and clothes are fantastic and make you believe in the film. It is very captivating and you get lost in the 30's. The most amazing scenes are with the animals. They are so clever and well trained, and make the film feel mystical . I have never watched a film about animal circuses and this gave a great insight into them.
Along with a great cast and set and some dramatic scenes this is a must see movie.The end of the film was very emotional and i have to say a few tears were shed.Maybe this is why its called water for elephants because i really don't understand why it has this title.
I went to see this at the cinema with some friends and didnt quite know what to expect.
Basically this is a love story set in the 1930s and takes place within a circus. I have to confess I have not read the book but after reading the reviews on here it has made me a little curious to read what I have missed.
Anyway Robert Pattinson plays a veterinary student called Jacob who suffers a terrible loss in his life and decides not to finish his studies, he ends up on a train that is transporting a circus. Here he meets August(Christopher Waltz) the charismatic (and occasionally psychopathic ) ringmaster and his wife Marlena (Reese Witherspoon),the story continues to focus on these three characters and an elephant.
The film surprised me as it made you realise just how brutal life in a circus could be for both humans and animals alike,and although no animals were ill-treated in the making of the film it made me understand a little more as to how animal rights activists wanted circuses to be banned and for animals not to be performing tricks. All I will say is,this circus had a rather sinister aspect to it if you got on the wrong side of the Ringmaster.
The film is beautifully shot and I have to say that both Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon look very comfortable around the animals. There are even some laughs to be had in the film although the story is serious.
Look out for Robert Pattinson in the future,he shows in this role that he has left 'Twilight' far behind and I think he is one to watch. A cracking new young talent.
*** No spoiler*** ***Film only review***
***Life is the most spectacular show on earth*** apparently......but is this film............
With three children, going to the cinema is not very high on my to-do list! But as I had been away for valentines day (having a baby) my better half decided to take me out for an evening child free.
After a lovely meal we headed to the local cinema which was showing Water for Elephants and knowing that I loved the book the other half suggested we go......
To be honest I number of factors did put me off this film mainly being 1) films based on books rarely meet my expectations of them and 2) did I have to see Robert Pattinson in yet another film and 3) the fact that it has been compared to 'Titanic' in the epic love story stakes!!!!
It was written by Sara Gruen in 2006 and is still in the top bestsellers list in the U.S.
Water for elephants is based in both the present and the 1930's (?) and centres around a vet student called Jacob (Pattinson), who after his parents tragic death, joins a travelling circus where along the way makes a lot of friends and also falls in love in Marlena (witherspoon) the circus ring-masters (Waltz) wife. Can love prevail???? And How much water do Elephants really need????......... I wont say anymore as its not fair on those waiting to see it.
I have to admit that from the beginning to the end I was so very impressed with the film as although it did not stick Ridgeley to the book, it did stay in line with the book and also convey a lot of the things I imagined. It cost around £38 million to make and to be honest it was (to me) money very well spent.
I will be the first to admit that I found the acting by the main characters great, but to be honest is was the supporting cast including the animals which I felt were amazing.
Waltz in particular, I found his portrayal of a psychotic man believable and brilliant, I think he really did make himself into the character August, his acting portrays a real passion and enjoyment for what he does, was totally believable and worth the cost of tickets alone!!!!
Witherspoon was perfectly cast and did the character 'Marlena' justice, she seemed comfortable around the animals and had a real connection with both Waltz and Pattinson. My only problem was that at some points of the film I just couldn't connect to her as Marlena (but I think this a personal point).
Pattinson I did find really very great in this movie and it shows that he is not a Twilight wonder!!! As it was a more serious role than (ahem) he is used too I was sceptical as too whether the acting would be good, needless to say I was very impressed the boy has indeed turned into a man, his portrayal was brilliant, his emotion and drive shocked me!!!! Looking back now I do think that the role was 'made' for him as he played it perfectly. Although I am still wondering what accent he was attempting........
But it was the supporting cast I found truly brilliant this included Mark Poveinelli playing a rather strange clown, Hal Holbrook who plays 'old' Jacob (very well I may add) and Paul Schneider as Charlie.
Although my favourite character above all was Rosie the Elephant, who would have thought I would fall for an elephant???
Visually the film is stunning, you do feel like your at the circus watching the most spectacular spectacular on earth!!!!!! I don't think there was any 'CGI' in the film although they were not needed I believe as the real animals took it to another level!!!
The film has a very authentic feel and the film-makers have stuck very close to authenticity.
My only complain about the film is that although a lot of the book is based on the past there are some important parts in the present which are not in the film, this did upset me slightly as I believe they are quite important to the story.
Overall I did love this film I was expecting a lot but boy did it deliver, I will definitely be buying the DVD when it is released, it is a great feel good movie and although its probably not suitable for under 15's it is great to watch snuggled up on the sofa with friends or partners. And even if it's not your usual cup of tea it's worth a watch just for the animals!
Well my question was'nt answered the way i thought either, but you will have to see it to find out....... :)
Water For Elephants
Sorry there has been such a delay in writing reviews. University only allows me enough free time to watch films and not enough time to review them anymore. I've only got a few more weeks left, but in between writing my essays I thought I'd write a few reviews about some films I've seen lately.
Last week I went to see the new Robert Pattinson and Reece Witherspoon movie, 'Water For Elephants'. I'm not usually a fan of Pattinson, to say I'm not a fan in the slightest will be the most obvious explanation and this was all down to the few films I've seen him in, including the Twilight series.
It was an orange Wednesday, so it was only a few pounds to see the movie, and to be honest I really was not expecting much, mainly because of Patterson and my previous opinion that he couldn't act to save his life.
The film started, and I forgot about this previous opinion and throughout the whole film I forgot he was English, as his American accent was very good and he could act a lot better than I originally thought.
A young man who is training to be a vet, has to face the loss of his parents, and finds himself escaping his family home and going on the road. He jumps onto a passing train, and enters the world of the circus and is put in charge of caring for the circus menagerie.
He then meets Marlena, the beautiful star of the circus who is married to the Ring Leader, August, and Jacob begins to fall for this beautiful but unobtainable woman as they both begin to care for an elephant who seems impossible to train. Can they both overcome the obstacles to find true love?
Marlena- Reese Witherspoon
Jacob- Robert Pattinson
August- Christoph Waltz
Camel- Jim Norton
Walter- Mark Povinelli
The first thing I should talk about with this movie, is the cinematography as it was truly one of the most beautiful movies I have seen in a long time. The costumes, the sets are all exquisite and fit into what I think we all imagine the 1930's would have been like, especially surrounding the circus. As a film buff, this is one of the first things I looked for in the film and it is one of the highlights, and I would recommend going to watch the film at the cinema for this reason, because I don't think you'll get the same feeling on a smaller screen.
Robert Pattinson was the shock of this movie for me. I'm sorry if I insult any Twilight fans, but his performance in that movie, was to be desired, however within Water For Elephants he was really actually good. He fit the role of 1930's posh vet perfectly and he was perfect for the role of Jacob. His chemistry with both Reece Witherspoon and even the Elephant in the movie, Rosie was exceptional and it just goes to show, once he has a leading actress who has a bigger personality that a brick wall, he can actually perform a half decent role.
Reece Witherspoon is an amazing actress, and she showed this off in the movie. It's nowhere near the role she portrayed in Walk The Line, but her role as Marlena was very good and the stunts within the movie, mainly on the back of the elephant were just amazing, and here is a little bit of trivia, she actually did all of the stunts herself, so when you see her performing all of these amazing rolls and jumps, it's Witherspoon.
I adored Christoph Waltz in Inglorious Basterds and he was perfect for the role of this movie. He plays the Ring Master called August and his character wanted fame, and he would use anything, and anyone to get what he wanted, and even when there was not enough money to pay his men, he would still hire new acts, including Rosie the Elephant. I was shocked between the chemistry between Witherspoon and Waltz, they looked like a strange pair, however she probably had more chemistry with him than she did with Pattinson. His role is ruthless and it's quite difficult to watch some of the scenes he's in, but he was the shining star in the movie, after the elephant of course.
Whilst I'm talking about the elephant, I should warn you, if you take your kids to see this movie, or even when you see this movie, you will want a pet elephant because Rosie the Elephant who is really called Thai is just amazing and the animal is so beautiful you can't help but fall in love. Pattinson has said in interviews that she was the best actress he's ever worked with, and I probably agree with that, she was brilliant.
The film was originally a book which I already have on my Amazon wish list, and it seems that if you liked the book, it really is hit or miss if you enjoy the film or not. I think if you are the type of person that can watch a film and forget about the book, then you I'm sure will love this movie.
It is definitely one of the best movies I've seen this year, and I will probably be going to see it when I'm home from University with the family as I enjoyed it that much. It really is a very beautiful, sweet movie and I bet none of you will be able to go throughout the whole film without awwwwwing throughout.