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April 23, 2011 | 11:58 a.m. CST
Come one, come all to the spectacular extravaganza that is Water for Elephants. Between the vintage clothing and the clever performing elephant, you don’t have to be a fan of the circus to appreciate this film based on the book by Sara Gruen.
Robert Pattinson plays Jacob Jankowski, a veterinary science student in the 1940s who loses his parents in a car accident. After learning of their deaths, Jacob leaves town and jumps aboard the train of the Benzini Brothers Circus, where he becomes their vet. Jacob soon falls in love with the star performer Marlena (Reese Witherspoon), who also happens to be the ringleader’s (Christoph Waltz) wife, and as expected, drama ensues.Related Movie
Witherspoon shines in the film as a kindhearted damsel constantly at odds with her psychotic and abusive husband. Her classic ’40s era wardrobe and intricate circus costuming add to Marlena’s innocent guise by making her appear nearly ethereal.
Waltz succeeds in his performance as the lunatic ringleader August Rosenbluth who will go to any level to sell out his shows, even if it includes beating his animals until they bleed or tossing workers he deems useless off a speeding train. Pattinson is August’s perfect enemy, as he woos Marlena with his big heart for animals and brooding allure, similar to his charm in the Twilight saga. The sexual tension between the two is palpable, and the attraction is as forbidden as the relationship between Bella and Edward.
But what really pulls the film together is the whiskey-drinking elephant named Rosie, who pulls off tricks (she does a handstand!) you wouldn’t expect a four-ton animal to perform. She truly steals the spotlight.
So even if you’re all R-Patzed out, this film will grab and hold tight your attention throughout its full two hours and leave you feeling enchanted.