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Water for Elephants

4.3 out of 5 stars 912 customer reviews

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Product Description

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).

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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



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Special Features

Robert Pattinson Spotlight
Feature Performer Reese Witherspoon
The Traveling Show - Page to Screen
Audio Commentary with Director Francis Lawrence and Writer Richard LaGravenese

Product Details

  • Actors: Robert Pattinson, Reese Witherspoon
  • Directors: Francis Lawrence
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    PG-13
    Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • Studio: Fox
  • DVD Release Date: November 1, 2011
  • Run Time: 121 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (912 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0041KKYHE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,595 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Water for Elephants" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Shannon L. Yarbrough VINE VOICE on April 24, 2011
Format: DVD
I have to admit that Water for Elephants was a decent representation of the book. Take into consideration that a movie is never going to give you 100% of the book. That being said, I was disappointed with the parts of the book the movie left out. There were lots of little details and nuances that just can't come across on the full screen anyway, although you would have liked to have seen how they would have been portrayed. Although too numerous to mention and for those who haven't read the book it wouldn't matter anyway, the biggest (for those who have read it) would be the comedic scenes that play out with Jacob in the nursing home. All of those chapters were completely left out.

We open with an old man (Hal Holbrook) wandering into the parking lot of a circus that is packing up and moving out. A workman comes out to see if he is lost and invites him in out of the rain while the man calls the nursing home. The old man looks at the old black and white circus photos on the wall and recalls out loud which circuses they are from. This grabs the worker's attention and he mentions the Benzini Brothers Circus tragedy from years ago. The old man says he was there and the worker asks him to tell him about it. We flash back to a younger gentleman played by Robert Pattinson and the movie is played out as a flashback of the old man's story.

Although I never would have expected it, Robert Pattinson plays out a perfect Jacob. That irresistible smile he gets on his face when he's around the animals definitely lets us connect with Jacob the way we wanted to see him connecting with Rosie the elephant. Perfect choice for the part!

Christoph Waltz was a decent August, the ring master and circus owner.
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By Heidi on November 21, 2011
Format: DVD
Water for Elephants, a dramatic romance novel written by Sarah Gruen, was published in 2006 and has become quite a hit. It was said to be "gorgeous, brilliant, and superbly plotted" by the author Joshilyn Jackson. The book is narrated by a 93 year old, Jacob Jankowski. Jacob is spending his remaining years in a nursing home, reminiscing of his life and experiences in the circus. When he was 23, his life took a drastic turn when his parents died in a car accident. Jacob is left with no money and drops out of Cornell University, as he was studying to be a vet. Heartbroken, he finds himself on a circus train and quickly becomes the vet of the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. This book has become such a success and was made into a movie in 2011, starring Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson.

Don't worry about the movie ruining the novel. The movie does an excellent job following Gruen's lead. It is common knowledge that the movie can never cover everything that happens in the book, but I was still very impressed with the quantity they did fit into the movie. The main events in the novel were portrayed well on the big screen. The movie producers did well using Gruen's detail in the book to develop the ultimate circus appearance. From the pink lace Marlena performs in, to the beautiful circus colors, this movie has it spot on.
This isn't your typical Notebook romance where their love is the main concentration. It's a love story amongst the darkness and hardships of being in a circus. The storyline is interesting, there are so many other things going on besides the building romance between Jacob and Marlena. Although, once the romance takes off, the move goes with it and has a tasteful twist at the end.
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Format: Blu-ray
Our daughter recommended this movie and when I read the general summary where it is described as being about a young man who joins the circus and falls for a married woman I thought this one will be hard to take. When I watched the movie I quickly realized it was vastly more than that and was, in fact, a truly remarkable story of a young man who is thrust into unexpected circumstances by a tragedy in his family.

The movie was warm, sympathetic, and involving and held our interest from the very beginning. It is told as a flashback by an elderly Jason, played by Hal Holbrook, and tells his story as a young man, played by Robert Pattinson, who is from a close knit family and is about to graduate as a vet when tragedy strikes his family. This sudden change of circumstances stuns the young Jason who starts seeking a new direction for his life.

The story is set in the year 1931 as the great depression is taking hold on the nation and so many are suffering without jobs, shelter, and food. Jason's training as a vet helps him get a job with a circus which is struggling to survive in those troubled times. The star of the circus, the wife of the owner, Marlena, played by Reese Whitherspoon becomes an object of fascination for Jason which introduces serious complications for all of them.

All of the elements required to make a fine movie are there and are beautifully molded to create a captivating story of life in all of its aspects. The scenery, acting, costumes, music, and directing all work harmoniously together to carry the viewer out of his seat and into life in a circus during the depression.

This is a movie that deserves to be watched and I recommend it highly for adults and older children. There are some intense scenes involving animals and people and it is rated PG-13. It was for me a powerful, emotional experience that will be hard to forget.
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