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Ileana’s Movie Review: Water for Elephants

Starring: Christoph Waltz, Reese Witherspoon, Robert Halbrook, and Hal Holbrook

Summary: Based on the novel by Sara Gruen, Water for Elephants follows the life of Jacob Jankowski (Pattinson/Holbrook). Jacob is a veterinary student whose world is turned upside down after the death of his parents. With nothing left to live for, he hops on a train and discovers the dazzling world of the traveling circus. There he instantly falls in love with Marlena (Witherspoon), a married woman who shares Jacob’s love of animals. In charge of the circus is Marlena’s husband August (Waltz), a cruel and sadistic man who will never let her go. And at the center of it all is Rosie the elephant (Tai), who ties all three characters together.

The first thing I want to say about this movie is how beautiful it is. The score and the cinematography were magical in bringing the world of the circus to life. I wouldn’t be surprised if it got nominated for cinematography or costumes design. Not having read the book I can’t say if it’s a faithful adaptation or not, but I did hear from several movie-goers in the theater that it was adapted well (though I’m sure the book is better). My only complaint was that I didn’t really feel a lot of chemistry between Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon. Not that their acting was bad but chemistry is something you either have or you don’t. Christoph Waltz was a delightful villain as usual, but the real star of the movie was Tai the elephant. She owned every scene she was in.

The first thing I want to say about this movie is how beautiful it is. The score and the cinematography were magical in bringing the world of the circus to life. I wouldn’t be surprised if it got nominated for cinematography or costumes design. Not having read the book I can’t say if it’s a faithful adaptation or not, but I did hear from several movie-goers in the theater that it was adapted well (though I’m sure the book is better). My only complaint was that I didn’t really feel a lot of chemistry between Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon. Not that their acting was bad but chemistry is something you either have or you don’t. Christoph Waltz was a delightful villain as usual, but the real star of the movie was Tai the elephant. She owned every scene she was in.

Trivia: Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon, who play lovers in this film, played mother and son in the movie Vanity Fair. Maybe that’s why there was so little sexual tension between them.

Rated: PG-13 – For sensuality, alcohol use, and some violence towards humans and animals.

Grade: B

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