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A Must See: Water for Elephants

May 5, 2011


I can’t believe that I will be recommending a movie where Robert Pattinson is the main character. My apologies to the die-hard Robert Pattinson fans: He is cute, but acting-wise, he still needs to work on his skills. Oh well, Robert Pattinson starred in two movies that I love which are Remember Me and this movie, Water for Elephants. If he got some talent, I’d applaud him for choosing the right scripts.

The story is adapted from a historical novel of the same title Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. It contains historical accounts of the Ringling brothers as the grandest circus of that time. It revolves around Jacob Jankowski (I know, Jacob right?) a veterinary school student who is forced to leave university after an unexpected event in his life. Because of this he was drawn to find a job and a new life, which he found in this circus franchise, The Benzini Brothers.

Here he meets and falls in love with Marlena, a star performer in the circus. 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.

The biggest selling point of the movie for me is the depiction of the 1930’s circus, a great view of what was it like to live in that time. The director was able to depict how spectacular the circuses are  during that era. I am a sucker for period films. Compared to the contemporary, I think period films are harder to make because of the research that the production team needs to go through to capture the mood, the feel and that moment in history, and still make it appealing to us 2011 folks. :)

Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson have amazing chemistry. Compared to Pattinson’s other movies, I can say that he improved a lot.

The actor who stood out for me in the film is the antagonist, August played by Christopher Waltz. It’s either you love him or you hate him in the film. He transforms into this can’t-hurt-a-fly person in front of the circus audience. But when he snaps, the entire persona changes. He might be an antagonist, but somehow you understand why he needs to do what he did to the characters because of this need to survive, the need to provide for his circus, and to endure the pains he need to go through the great depression. Such a stellar performance that Waltz was able to pull off. He got this natural style that is admirable! I just don’t know how he does it.

Of course who could not forget about the scene stealer named Rosie, anyone will definitely fall in love with this adorable elephant.

Plot-wise, the love story may be your regular star-crossed lovers but the setting makes the movie in a different league on its own and watchable again and again. Such an interesting ending though, but executed beautifully.

Overall, I loved the movie and I don’t mind watching it again. There is a plethora of great movies this weekend! Make sure that this movie is part of your list.

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