Film Review: Water for Elephants

Film Reviews copy

Jacob has his whole life planned when devastating news leaves him without a family, a home or finances. Not knowing what else to do, he runs.

But fate causes him to jump aboard a train. A train that houses a magnificent circus. But Jacob’s luck hasn’t completely turned around. The circus owner is a man with a temper, one who is prone to take it out on his animals and his employees.

When an elephant named Rosie joins the circus, Jacob is drawn to Marlena, his boss’ wife. Falling in love could destroy Jacob, but he can’t let Marlena go.

Film: Water for Elephants

Director:  Francis Lawrence

Date: 2011

Rating: 3.5/5

I didn’t plan to watch Water for Elephants, let alone review it. But a mixture of making life easy for myself and the fact I quite enjoyed it meant here I am, writing this review. I haven’t read the book so I cannot compare. The film, however, has left me wanting to read it, so it must have got something right.

A young man runs away when he looses everything and fate leads him to join a circus, working with the animals. His attention is drawn by Marlena, the boss’ wife. When an elephant named Rosie joins the circus, Jacob has the excuse to work closely with Marlena. But the boss has a temper and he regularly beats his animals, including Rosie. Jacob refuses to accept that, and as he falls in love with Marlena, he refuses to leave her with such a cruel man.

I never thought the combination of Reese Weatherspoon and Robert Pattison would work, but the two bring the forbidden love of Marlena and Jacob to the screen with authenticity. Perhaps it is due to lingering looks rather than anything more than that, but they made the characters feel real. Jacob was a favourite for me (which surprised me as I don’t normally like Pattison’s acting). But the character had depth and both felt and cared for the animals as much as the people. I’m always a sucker for the animals, so the fact he defends them makes him likeable for me.

The animal trainers on this film deserve a huge round of applause. Most of it focuses on Rosie the elephant, but she was definitely the star of the show – plus a truly beautiful animal. The use of animals is highly effective for the innocence and intelligence of this animal is shown clearly, as is the abuse she must suffer at the hands of her master.

All in all, this film surprised me. I didn’t know what it was about but found myself caught up in the storyline and wanting the lovers to be able to escape from their cruel existence and find happiness. I can’t compare to the book, but the depth of characters and the emotions shown in the film alone makes me think it could be a powerful read. This film had certain charm to it!

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