Water for Elephants
ACADEMY AWARD® Winners Reese Witherspoon* and Christoph Waltz** join Robert Pattinson (The Twilight Saga) for this epic tale of forbidden love based on Sara Gruen’s acclaimed best seller. Against all odds, a veterinary student (Pattinson) and a beautiful circus performer from a bygone era (Witherspoon), meet and fall in love through their shared compassion for a special elephant. But their secret romance incurs the wrath of her dangerously volatile husband (Waltz).
Sara Gruen's bestselling novel comes to glossy life in this period romance. A sparkle-free Robert Pattinson plays Jacob Jankowski, who studies veterinary medicine during the Great Depression. After a family tragedy, he loses everything, including the chance to graduate from prestigious Cornell, so he hops a train, where he finds himself part of the struggling Benzini Brothers Circus. Ringleader August (Christoph Waltz, echoing his Oscar-winning Inglourious Basterds performance) has doubts about the softhearted lad, but a fellow Pole smoothes the way, and Jacob becomes the company vet, which leads him to platinum-blond equestrian Marlena (Reese Witherspoon), August's wife. The two make eyes at each other, but an affair would surely end badly, so they concentrate on their work. When Marlena's prize steed falls ill, August purchases an elephant, hoping Rosie will turn their fortunes around, and enlists Jacob to train her. Unfortunately, she's slow to respond to commands until Jankowski unlocks her secret--and after August has beaten the poor thing into submission. After that, things start to look up until Jacob steals a kiss from his dream girl. As in The Notebook, the film it most closely resembles, an elderly version of the central character (Hal Holbrook, touching) narrates in the present day (screenwriter Richard LaGravenese also adapted The Bridges of Madison County). He tells an interesting tale, so it's too bad the leads strike so few sparks. For those who find big-top classics like Nightmare Alley too dark, however, Francis Lawrence's feel-better variant may be just the ticket. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
More From the Stars of Water for Elephants
- Aspect Ratio : 2.35:1
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- MPAA rating : s_medPG13 PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
- Product Dimensions : 7.5 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches; 3.2 Ounces
- Item model number : 4509809849
- Director : Francis Lawrence
- Media Format : Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
- Run time : 2 hours
- Release date : November 1, 2011
- Actors : Robert Pattinson, Reese Witherspoon
- Dubbed: : Spanish, French
- Subtitles: : Spanish, English
- Studio : Fox
- ASIN : B0041KKYHE
- Number of discs : 1
- Best Sellers Rank: #42,393 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Yes, you get to see some of the sadistic traits of August, but in watching the movie, you can kind of feel for the guy, too. It's not like he imagined his wife and Jacob's attraction. Marlena and Jacob were very obviously attracted to each other, and they were obvious about it. Marlena was flirtatious with Jacob. Their sexual attraction was there almost from the beginning. What man would be happy about his wife's flirtation with his employee and his employee's mutual attraction towards her? Sadistic though he was, I still could understand his anger at the situation. The situation actually gave some credibility to his anger...extreme though it was. His inability to express his feelings led to a lot of cat and mouse games between the characters. I didn't enjoy that. It lent an unnecessary darkness to this movie. The book was gritty and real, but not dark.
The movie wants to convince us that August is a sick, sub human being, and that's a lot of the focus of this movie, but it's wasn't firmly convincing, because of the way they chose to portray his wife's character and focus on her relationship with Jacob.
In the book, there was much more to Jacob's character than his interactions with August and Marlena. Marlena wasn't sending out mixed messages. Marlena wasn't a mixed up victim that needed to be saved by Jacob. She chose her life with August, had enough, and she just made a different choice for herself with Jacob, and you get it was her choice. In the book, Marlena was a stabilizer for August, until she had enough. Jacob was attracted to her from the start. Marlena was not. She came to know Jacob and then she came to love him. August was a sicko and there was no doubt about it. He was crazy way before Jacob came on the scene. You get this clearly. There is no conflict in the reader's emotions. His craziness was not jealously driven or really even directed towards Marlena, until he feared losing her. She was his savior, until she chose not to be. When August gets his due. You want to clap. In the book, you come to know and love Camel, Walter, Rosie, and you really get to know Jacob. You get a feel for the solidarity of the roustabouts and sub performers in the extremely hard working conditions, and the toughness of the people of that time period. You get a real feel of the class distinctions within circus life.
All that said, the movie is well acted. The average review is for the script, not the acting. This is not a true representation of the book at all. Water for Elephants is so much more than some damsel in distress love story, and her dark, creepy circus guy husband. If you like to read, get the book. You'll be drawn in and enjoy it. The books is so much richer.
I read the novel this film is based on when it first came out in 2006. I only read it once, so my memory is fussy, but right away I noticed that they made lots of changes in the movie. As difficult as it was to watch many of the scenes in this flick, it was much harder to read those things. The descriptions were raw, especially the ones centered on the animals and the underbelly of circus life. They gloss over most of those things in the movie, which is just as well. Some scenes are just hard to watch. When August shows Jacob how to “train” Rosie, I couldn’t help crying. It was too much. There were other scenes — a particularly brutal one — that I skipped. There was no way I’d watch all of that. Elephants are beautiful and highly intelligent creatures. It breaks my heart whenever I hear that someone mistreats them or kills them for sport. The only place I’d recommend to check out elephants in their natural habitat is gorgeous Sri Lanka. The elephants are clean and well fed in all the reserves. You'll love petting them and interacting with them. Such a treat! I would never support a circus with animals as part of the act. This is why I also don’t support bull-fighting or any other barbaric ritual — I don’t care how “culturally relevant” or “traditional” it is. So if you’re sensitive to animal abuse, then I’d skip the triggering scenes.
The movie itself is great. I love how atmospheric it is. The setting stays true to the book. Pattison shows that he’s capable of much more than just the sparkling Edward Cullen. Good for him! Reese Witherspoon looks beautiful in this movie, almost fey-like. She has amazing skin, and I disagree with the reviewer who says she looks airbrushed for the role. She looks amazing, with or without concealer. I’ve seen younger women who don’t look as fresh-faced as she does! Downsides? The film is quite dark. Then again, so was the novel. I enjoy stories with dark and thought provoking themes, so this isn’t an issue for me. I gear this toward those who may shy away from this type of storyline. All in all, I recommend WATER FOR ELEPHANTS, now on Cinemax. Four out of five Oat Milk Meets Almond Lattes!
Top reviews from other countries
A young man runs away when he looses everything and fate leads him to join a circus, working with the animals. His attention is drawn by Marlena, the boss’ wife. When an elephant named Rosie joins the circus, Jacob has the excuse to work closely with Marlena. But the boss has a temper and he regularly beats his animals, including Rosie. Jacob refuses to accept that, and as he falls in love with Marlena, he refuses to leave her with such a cruel man.
I never thought the combination of Reese Weatherspoon and Robert Pattison would work, but the two bring the forbidden love of Marlena and Jacob to the screen with authenticity. Perhaps it is due to lingering looks rather than anything more than that, but they made the characters feel real. Jacob was a favourite for me (which surprised me as I don’t normally like Pattison’s acting). But the character had depth and both felt and cared for the animals as much as the people. I’m always a sucker for the animals, so the fact he defends them makes him likeable for me.
The animal trainers on this film deserve a huge round of applause. Most of it focuses on Rosie the elephant, but she was definitely the star of the show – plus a truly beautiful animal. The use of animals is highly effective for the innocence and intelligence of this animal is shown clearly, as is the abuse she must suffer at the hands of her master.
All in all, this film surprised me. I didn’t know what it was about but found myself caught up in the storyline and wanting the lovers to be able to escape from their cruel existence and find happiness. I can’t compare to the book, but the depth of characters and the emotions shown in the film alone makes me think it could be a powerful read. This film had certain charm to it!
I liked everything about "Water For Elephants" - an unusual and yet believable romance between a lowly stable boy (Robert Pattison) and an Elephant Dame (Reese Witherspoon) overseen by a maniacal and jealous Circus boss (Christaph Waltz).
It's also such sumptuous viewing. There's hardly a scene where you don't think - I want this on 'DVD'. No - you have to see it on BLU RAY - the colours, the textures and feel of the stables and the marquees and the travelling life on the train exploding off the screen all the time. People wanting to escape their bondage from class, from oppressors...
You should also note that the 'US' 20th Century Fox BLU RAY is REGION A LOCKED - so it won't play on our machines unless they're chipped to be 'all regions' (which few are).
Go for the 'UK' variant instead. It's also part of Amazon's value for money '2 BLU RAYS for £10' deal. Pair it with "The Help" or "Frida" or "Anonymous" or "The Way Back" - and you've a varied night's viewing ahead of you...
I would have given 5 stars but for the fact the surround channels in its 5.1 encode aren't as utilised as I hoped/thought/expected!...
..the video transfer is impeccable but I'd rather the image filled my screen.(ie,without black bars above & below) If you aren't a fan of letterboxing then as with most contemporary releases avoid this with its 2.35 aspect ratio.(but could've been 'worse',2.40, which are also common place)
But,overall,currently can recommend.