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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Movie Review: Water for Elephants

Water for Elephants
20th Century Fox
122 mins.
April 22, 2011
Rated: PG-13

Based on Sara Gruen’s best-selling novel of the same name, Water for Elephants is a beautiful film of a fated depression era circus and the people that live its life day to day. Despite all of the great coverage I have seen for this movie throughout the last year I was still slightly concerned that it wouldn’t live up to how much I loved the book. I tend to find that movies are sometimes a letdown in that manner and sometimes I get too hyped up and then am disappointed. I honestly think that this was the best book-to-movie adaptation that I have ever seen!

The look of this film was so gorgeous! The circus, train cars, and costumes were spot on for the time period – they were gritty, patched up, used, Depression era. Everything was filmed in such a way that every scene took in the beauty and fantasy of the time.

The casting was supurb – I don’t think I could put it any other way. Rob Pattinson (as Jacob) and Reese Witherspoon (as Marlena) were great, but for me the best characters for me were Christoph Waltz (as August) and Hal Holbrook (as old Jacob). Waltz was awesome scary! By combining the characters of Uncle Al and August into the more complex character of August, Waltz had more evil and twisted to work with, but when there were times for compassion and sincerity, Waltz hit those marks too. If the scenes from the nursing home with old Jacob were included in the film, Holbrook would have stolen the show. He was funny and sarcastic and just awesome. As it was, the scenes he was in, he was phenomenal. And of course there was Tai who played Rosie the elephant. She was so comical and well trained – it was just beautiful!
The plot of the film followed very closely to the novel. There were of course bits and pieces left out, but overall I didn’t really notice anything missing. The movie totally evoked the feeling of the book and gave so much that you didn’t notice what wasn’t there. The characters of August and Uncle Al were merged so well that you really didn’t feel the need for two characters. I did miss the scenes in the nursing home with old Jacob, but the story was told fine without them. The only scene that I think I preferred from the book over the movie is the major climatic scene. It was still very well done in the movie but the book gave a more ambiguous, intense, drama. I was worried about the abuse scenes between August and Rosie and how they would play out on camera. The minor stuff was on camera and the major event was entirely off camera, but you certainly felt everything that you were meant to – I remember people in the audience gasping.

You could tell that this film was handled with love from the cast and crew. I absolutely enjoyed this film and will certainly be picking it up when it comes out on dvd release. I would recommend you to go see it!

There were two trailers released, so I thought I would post both of them here!

Trailer 1

Trailer 2

Copyright © 2011 by The Maiden’s Court


  1. Thanks for the comment on my Lady of the Roses review. I just started her novel, The King's Daughter, and within the first chapter the Woodville's are being bad mouthed...lol. I guess she just isn't a fan! :)

  2. Great review! I can't wait to watch this movie!

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