Movie Review of “Water for Elephants”

A couple months ago, I decided to save some money by no longer getting DVDs from Netflix . However, even though I was still able to find some interesting movies via their video streaming service, I quickly discovered I missed being able to see new releases. So, recently, I decided to start receiving DVDs by mail again, starting with the 2011 movie Water for Elephants .

I’m not exactly sure what made me decide to get this movie. I had heard some good things about it, but it also didn’t really sound like something I would normally watch. In addition, I’m not much of a Robert Pattinson fan. However, despite not knowing why I got this movie, I have to admit I liked it.

Pattinson stars as Jacob, a veterinary student in the 1930s who quits school after his parents are killed in a car accident (causing the bank to take their house) and ends up joining the circus. When the circus’ owner August ( Christoph Waltz ) buys an elephant, he puts Jacob in charge of training it and, in the process, a love story between Jacob and August’s wife Marlena ( Reese Witherspoon) develops.

There were a couple things I ended up liking about this movie. The first one was how it showed the dark side of circus life during the 1930s, when the shows barely made enough to survive and greedy owners would have to make staff members disappear (via being tossed off a moving train at night) just so they didn’t have to pay them. The blatant animal cruelty ranging from beating the elephant to removing teeth from the lions, also caught my attention.

I also have to admit the love story between Marlena and Jacob wasn’t terrible either. I liked how the movie didn’t make August out to be a total bad guy. He did some horrible things. But, they were all related to his paranoia over him losing his wife, either by her leaving him for another man or him not being able to provide for her. Rather than hate him, it was actually easy to feel a bit sorry for him at times.

My only real complaint about this movie is there were a lot of scenes in it that reminded me a lot of other movies. As I told my wife, at least early on, it was a bit like watching the movie Titanic without a giant ship.

Overall though, I do feel this was a movie that was worth watching. If you are in the mood for a romantic movie, I recommend picking up a copy one evening.

My Grade: 4 stars out of a possible 5.

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