Water for Elephants (2011)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: It's a tale tastefully told and beautifully filmed, but Water for Elephants suffers from a pronounced lack of chemistry between its leads.


Movie Info

Based on the acclaimed bestseller, Water for Elephants presents an unexpected romance in a uniquely compelling setting. Veterinary school student Jacob meets and falls in love with Marlena, a star performer in a circus of a bygone era. 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. (c) Fox

Rating: PG-13 (for moments of intense violence and sexual content)
Genre: Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Richard LaGravenese
In Theaters:
On DVD: Nov 1, 2011
Box Office: $58.7M
Runtime:
20th Century Fox - Official Site

Cast


as Old Jacob

as Kinko/Walter

as Rosie's Caretaker

as Mr. Hyde

as Mr. Erwin

as Mr. Robinson

as Diamond Joe

as Barbara

as Cecil the Barker

as Mrs. Jankowski

as Mr. Jankowski

as Proctor

as Dean Wilkins

as Chaplain

as Grocer

as Catherine Hale

as Weehawken Officer

as Big Top Band Leader

as Coochie Girl (Nell)

as Stampede Girl

as Rosie

as Queenie

as Silver Star

as Rex

as Circus Performer

as Circus Performer

as Circus Performer

as Circus Performer

as Circus Performer

as Circus Performer

as Circus Performer

as Circus Performer

as Circus Performer

as Circus Performer

as Circus Performer

as Circus Performer

as Circus Performer

as Circus Performer

as Circus Performer

as Circus Performer

as Showgirl

as Showgirl

as Coochie Girl

as Coochie Girl

as Sideshow

as Sideshow

as Sideshow

as Sideshow

as Sideshow

as Clown

as Big Top Band

as Big Top Band

as Big Top Band

as Big Top Band

as Big Top Band

as Big Top Band

as Big Top Band

as Big Top Band

as Big Top Band

as Sideshow Band

as Sideshow Band

as Sideshow Band

as Sideshow Band

as Sideshow Band

as Speakeasy Jazz Band

as Speakeasy Jazz Band

as Speakeasy Jazz band

as Speakeasy Jazz Band

as Speakeasy Jazz Band

as Speakeasy Jazz Band

as Speakeasy Jazz Band
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Water for Elephants

All Critics (190) | Top Critics (41)

Supporting characters are too hastily sketched in, serving only to further the unsmooth course of true love.

Full Review… | October 7, 2011
TheWrap
Top Critic

This movie doesn't have half the imagination of even the most subpar circus and, all told, I think it even has fewer elephants.

Full Review… | June 23, 2013
Deadspin

The leads lack chemistry and the movie has a very cookie-cutter love story that was far too predictable.

Full Review… | April 21, 2013
We Got This Covered

Whatever romance Gruen summoned forth from this rough and tumble world of show people living by their own laws in a traveling, self-contained world of poverty and cruelty, director Francis Lawrence has hacked and ground it off.

Full Review… | January 11, 2013
Tribune News Service

"Water for Elephants" is a surprisingly good film that once again shows that first impressions aren't everything.

Full Review… | September 20, 2012
Examiner.com

Effectively hits the right emotional beats with crucially the right amount of restraint.

Full Review… | January 30, 2012
TheMovieReport.com

Audience Reviews for Water for Elephants

I see Jacob's (Robert Pattinson) tale is one of tragedy, deceit, illusion, abuse (animal, spousal and workplace), drunkenness, murder and secret love. Incidents of nastiness and brutality vie with attempts to evoke the magic of the circus, but these have a desperate and unconvincing mood.
While young boys of a bygone age may have dreamed or orgies with hoochie-coochie dancers and drunken dwarfs, such outbursts of colourful fun are curiously joyless - neither Federico Fellini's surreal nor C.B. DeMille's exuberant vision of Circus. Equally, the romance between young Jacob and showgirl Marlena feels forced. Thank heavens, then, that the climactic catastrophe is appropriately dreadful.
Reese Witherspoon, it is said, loved the book. One suspects it was the costumes she loved best, the pink sequins, marabou feathers and bias-cut frocks nicely set off by the Jean Harlow hair.
For a dying circus whose unpaid roustabouts and moth-eaten animals are starving, she's almost too glamorous, holding court with a champagne glass in a handsomely appointed railway carriage boudoir.
Pattinson is, in his quiet, the sympathetic central character because his ardent, young Jacob is the one commencing a big life journey.
Most memorable, though, is Christoph Waltz's terrifyingly unpredictable August. Horribly fascinating, he is charming and charismatic one moment, and savagely sadistic the next.

deano
Dean McKenna

Super Reviewer

½

I LOVED the book and I figured that the movie wasn't going to live up to it, and I was right so it wasn't a major letdown. The book was so intense, throughout the entire thing and I could not put it down. I wanted the movie to be just as intense but it really wasn't. I didn't care about what happened to the characters in the movie as much as I cared about the characters in the book.

purplemegan
Megan S

Super Reviewer

½

very entertaining, and actually well executed for what it was. the story itself was just an old story in new clothes, so it failed to be overly compelling, but it was a solid date movie.

sanjurosamurai
danny d

Super Reviewer

Water for Elephants Quotes

– Submitted by Alyssa B (21 months ago)
– Submitted by Alyssa B (21 months ago)
– Submitted by Cathy D (3 years ago)
– Submitted by Jillian L (3 years ago)

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