Water for Elephants

Water for Elephants

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. 2.7 out of 5 based on 16 reviews
Water for Elephants

Omniscore:

Certificate 12A
Genre Drama, Romance
Director Francis Lawrence
Cast Reese Witherspoon, Christoph Waltz, James Frain Robert Pattinson
Studio Fox UK
Release Date May 2011
Running Time 120 mins
 

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.

Read the Omnivore roundup for Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen

Reviews

Variety

Peter Debruge

The filmmakers clearly value their public, crafting a splendid period swooner that delivers classic romance and an indelible insider's view of 1930s circus life.

21/04/2011

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The Sunday Times

Edward Porter

... a hokey but entertaining show ... As the circus’s leading lady, Reese Witherspoon proves only that she can maintain her usual sunniness while sitting atop a pachyderm, but Robert Pattinson, playing a new recruit, suggests for the first time that he might have leading-man potential beyond the cold-blooded posing of his Twilight turns.

08/05/2011

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Total Film

Kate Stables

A swoony, enjoyable, old-time romance whose best acts are a period-perfect Pattinson and a playful pachyderm. But despite its best endeavours, it can’t quite punch above ’plex-pleasing weight.

26/04/2011

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The Observer

Philip French

The ace Mexican cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto gives the film a sad, nostalgic glow, the designer Jack Fisk, who's worked on all of Terrence Malick's pictures, as well as Lynch's Mulholland Drive, has done his customary distinctive job, and Hal Holbrook tops and tails the film as a nonagenarian narrator.

08/05/2011

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The Daily Telegraph

Tim Robey

Vapidly pleasurable, the film works within a simple and well-worn groove, but it does work, almost in spite of itself.

05/05/2011

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Time Out

Dave Calhoun

It’s overlong yet, paradoxically, the final stages feel rushed. But ‘Water for Elephants’ has charm, and this more grown up role suits Pattinson more than the histrionics of last year’s ‘Remember Me’. The film offers a life lesson for pet owners, too: next time your animal plays up, try talking to it in Polish.

05/05/2011

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Empire Magazine

Angie Errigo

Familiar but enjoyable. Not being funny, the elephant (Rosie, played by nine-foot enchantress Tai) is the real star as the most moving and only joyful presence in sight.

12/05/2011

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The Evening Standard

Derek Malcolm

Director Francis Lawrence knows what he is doing and doesn't get too ambitious with this old-fashioned piece of storytelling.

06/05/2011

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The Independent on Sunday

Nicholas Barber

Like The Notebook and Titanic, the film is a lush period-melodrama that revolves around a youthful romance, as recounted decades later by one of the lovers ... The film paints a credible picture of this rambunctious existence, with its cramped conditions and hand-blistering work. There's some CGI, but most of the time it seems that we're seeing real people putting on a real show in a real big top – and only just scraping a living.

08/05/2011

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The Los Angeles Times

Kenneth Turan

There is quite a bit to enjoy in a film that certainly qualifies as broad-based popular entertainment. But because the ingredients are so promising, there hangs over this serviceable project the wish that it had turned out better still. Director Francis Lawrence, who works in music videos as well as features, has an unmistakable gift for bravura spectacle, but the absence of convincing romantic chemistry means that the emotional connection that should be this film's birthright is not really there.

22/04/2011

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The Daily Mail

Chris Tookey

[Pattinson] does shake himself out of his self-absorbed torpor in his tender scenes with Rosie the elephant, a sweet, effortlessly charismatic presence. In a movie full of self-conscious acting, hers is the least elephantine performance.

06/05/2011

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The Guardian

Peter Bradshaw

Witherspoon, a fiery and intelligent performer in Walk the Line, and especially in her masterpiece Election, is here a little bland. This movie has some theoretically spectacular moments, which somehow don't read on screen as spectacular or even all that exciting.

05/05/2011

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The Independent

Anthony Quinn

Without Waltz, this might qualify as perhaps the dullest circus movie ever made, dragged down by a sappy script and a soppy romance.

06/05/2011

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The Times

Wendy Ide

It takes a rare kind of talent to make such tough subject matter — there are numerous savage beatings and a body count that includes both humans and animals in its toll — so innocuously bland.

06/05/2011

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The Financial Times

Nigel Andrews

... hokum, sentimental, corny and contrived ...

04/05/2011

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The New York Times

Stephen Holden

The timid screen adaptation, directed by Francis Lawrence from a screenplay by Richard LaGravenese, short-circuits the novel’s quirky charms and period atmosphere by its squeamish attitude toward gritty circus life and smothers the drama under James Newton Howard’s insufferable wall-to-wall musical soup ... The romantic chemistry between Ms. Witherspoon and Mr. Pattinson is nil.

21/04/2011

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