Water for Elephants - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Water for Elephants Reviews

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Super Reviewer
March 7, 2011
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.
Super Reviewer
½ January 21, 2013
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.
Super Reviewer
½ April 21, 2011
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.
Super Reviewer
½ May 5, 2012
This was a really cute movie. There was definitely no chemistry between Witherspoon or Pattinson, but it was pretty good. Nothing special or different about it. It's just an average drama. I'd totally watch it again, but not any time soon.
Super Reviewer
½ February 1, 2012
An artificial, cliche and silly romantic story. A messy mix of Titanic, Twilight and Freaks, Water for Elephants is a bad decision in Waltz career. The outstanding actor must don't be stuck in the villain and look different roles. Ms. Witherspoon make a artificial acting very poor made and Mr. LaGravenese should get back to the old form. What form? A better form. Rotten.
Super Reviewer
½ April 2, 2011
I haven't read the book, but the film is wonderfully told, and absolutely breathtakingly shot. Some people say that Robert Pattinson can't act, and that may be true for Twilight, but I think he's pretty good here as Jacob. Some complaints about the acting though are that Reese Witherspoon and Christoph Waltz look ravishing, they really do lack chemistry. Now that may have been done purposely to enhance the fact that they are not happily married, or it may just be that: no chemistry. The relationship between Witherspoon and Pattinson is a bit better, but still feels cold and distant. On another note, I really loved Hal Holbrook here as the older Jacob. He was by far the most effective actor on screen. Water for Elephants is a wonderful, touching, and sometimes horrifying and sad film that features stunning cinematography and above average storytelling.
Super Reviewer
January 6, 2012
If I had a top ten list for movies I watched in 2011 this film would be on it. A story about a old man who wanders into a modern day circus and appears to be left behind by a nursing home visit. When taken to the owners trailer he begins to tell a wonderful and amazing story about how he worked in one of the top two circus during the depression. The story, the costumes, the actors and the scenes make this a movie that all must see, Don't judge a book by its title I would say. Reese WIitherspoon is beautiful. 5 stars
Super Reviewer
½ January 1, 2012
Jacob was ablout to graduate as a vet when he learns of his parents fatal accident. He ends up on a train of a travelling circus. Where he meets and falls in love with one of the performers. However she is married to the cruel and violent circus owner. Good cast. Sad in parts because of animal cruelty.
Super Reviewer
½ April 20, 2011
Water for Elephants nails the circus atmosphere and does a decent job as a period piece as well. Christoph Waltz is solid and the story itself has some intense emotional moments. However, the ending is revealed unceremoniously in the first five minutes in a way that calls to mind The Notebook, but ten times less subtle. You know who will succeed and how they will succeed right from the beginning, ridding almost all of the tension from the entire movie. Speaking of predictability, I correctly finished the final line of the movie before it was delivered. Also, I find it weird that there are copious amounts of casually-used alcohol in most scenes, yet it is mentioned multiple times that the film takes place in the Prohibition Era. Talk about an elephant-sized oversight.
Super Reviewer
December 19, 2010
Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Robert Pattinson, Christoph Waltz, Paul Schneider, Jim Norton, Hal Holbrook, Mark Povinelli, Richard Brake, Stephen Taylor

Director: Francis Lawrence

Summary: In this captivating Depression-era melodrama, impetuous veterinary student Jacob Jankowski (Robert Pattinson) joins a celebrated circus as an animal caretaker but faces a wrenching dilemma when he's transfixed by angelic married performer Marlena (Reese Witherspoon). An affinity for elephants brings together the young pair, but the warmth between them sends Marlena's cruel husband, animal trainer August (Christoph Waltz), into a frightening fury.

My Thoughts: "This is a great story-telling film. I enjoyed the story so much I am looking forward to reading the book. I felt Reese was too old for the character before watching it, but now seeing it I think she did great in the part and made me forget about my previous concerns. Robert Pattinson really surprised me in this film. I thought he was great in his role. I was impressed by his acting. I guess this film just helps prove he does have the talent. The torture of the elephant was awful and hard to watch. I think some who are big animal lovers will have issues with those scenes. Besides that I thought the movie was beautifully made and one of the better love stories I have seen."
Super Reviewer
½ March 13, 2011
Water for Elephants is a colorful fun movie, even if the acting isn't as great as I hoped. The story involves a man (Robert Pattinson) who joins a traveling circus after his parents die, soon he meets his best fiend, an elephant named Rosie, and meets the love of his life (Reese Witherspoon) who is married to the ring master. The plot is not anything Oscar worthy, but its a good adaptation of the book which has caught the heart of millions, and I consider it to be a pretty good story in my opinion. The cats was not terrible first of all, Christoph waltz is pretty great, the problem is that Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon just are not great in these roles I think, I like them both but this was not the movie for them I think. The production of the film was tremendous, a sure fire Oscar contendor for best Art Direction I think, I loved it. Water for Elephants was a fun time at the movies, I enjoyed what I saw and would be willing to see it again if I got the chance.
Super Reviewer
½ November 22, 2011
"Water for Elephants" is romance set in a very unlikely setting, the circus life of the 1930's. Robert Pattinson stars as Jacob, a veterinary school student who loses his parents and runs away. Upon hopping onto a traveling train he is thrust into the life as a circus worker. He then meets the off kilter promoter August(Christoph Waltz) who decides to use Jacob's veterinary skills to help with the animals. While helping a horse Jacob meets August's wife, Marlena(Reese Witherspoon), and begins to fall in love with her. The performances here are all very well done. Pattinson actually does pretty good, and has good chemistry with Witherspoon. Waltz is by far the best of the cast, and continues to be one of the best character actors today. The biggest issue I had with the movie is the pacing. It's pretty slow and takes a little too long to get going. The scenery is beautiful, and the animals really come to life. But the movie just drags some and it brings it all down a notch or two. Had it not been for the slow pace, this would be right up there with other great romance movies like "The Notebook". Still pretty decent, and I'm sure most(if not all) women will love it. Guys, give it a chance, you may enjoy it too.
Super Reviewer
August 30, 2011
Really good movie based on one of my favorite books. I have to say, they did a pretty decent job adapting this book to film. Wonderful scenery. Really good choice of actors. The only disappointment for me was the reenactment of the tragic events that this book is based around (an actual event). In the book, it was the most exciting part. They really didn't play that part up like they should have, in my opinion. All in all, though, a well done film.
Super Reviewer
October 29, 2011
It didn't take long for me too leave, that is the reaction you shouldn't get.
Super Reviewer
April 4, 2011
The story is satisfactory, and familiar. The scenes of the circus and performing animals seemed a lot more interesting than the film's leads.
Super Reviewer
½ October 22, 2011
As for a love story, it felt good as I sat down to watch it. However, I soon realized that the movie has no scope of getting better. And so was it. It's just an ordinary love story and has nothing incredible to it...... unless a few scenes of circus & human concern for animals amaze you incredibly. So there.
Super Reviewer
½ September 20, 2011
I didn't know what to expect from this film and although I may have been slightly disappointed, I thought it was a good enough movie nevertheless. A mix of Big Fish and the Notebook, I thought that the storyline was original but the nostalgic way in which Old Jacob tells us it is a tried and tested method best left to slightly more conventional movies. However, it was colourful, charming and callous at times. It was worth a watch and has solidified Witherspoon and Waltz as some of the best performers of all time, however it seemed to just reinforce Pattinson as an emotionless puppet of an actor as he seemed to struggle with emotion, which must be a new thing for him to act.
Super Reviewer
½ June 16, 2011
Pattinson impressed me in this romantic drama. Worth watching. I haven't read the book so I don't know if it does it justice.
Super Reviewer
April 19, 2011
I went into this movie with an open mind. I hate R. Patz, but I love Christoph Waltz. Reese Whitherspoon is on the fence for me...So if you go into it with an open mind I'm sure you will find this movie just as entertaing as I did. The costumes were very good and the story isnt bad. I'd say, if you've read the book or are jsut interested, Check it out!
Super Reviewer
April 13, 2011
Firstly, I have never read the book, so I have no idea if this is a good adaptation or not, but I enjoyed it. I found it hard to watch at times because there is a bit of animal cruelty here, and even though I know it is not real, I really don't enjoy watching that. I have to admit, I had tears in my eyes a few times and only once over the human cast.
This is a good and interesting story. Robert Pattinson plays Jacob, a veterinary student,who finds himself homeless when his parents are suddenly killed in a car accident. Jacob goes on the road looking for work, and he winds up helping out in a circus, where he meets and falls in love with Marlena (Reese Witherspoon), who is married to August (Christoph Waltz), a cruel and mentally unbalanced man.
I found the casting fine. I think Robert Pattinson does better in the Twilight movies than here, as it is just like watching olden days Edward really, but he is a likeable lead and Reese is fine as Marlena. I have read a few negative reviews of her performance here, but I think she is meant to be that little bit older,and I tend to like her anyhow. I don't think this is much of a stretch for her, having said that. Christoph Waltz is horrible, really just awful (in a good way).
This is a good movie to get stuck into. I don't know that it would be a favourite or one to warrant repeat viewings, but it is definitely worth a look.
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