Director: Francis Lawrence
Writers: Richard LaGravanese, Sara Gruen (novel)
Starring: Robert Pattinson, Reese Witherspoon, Christoph Waltz, Paul Schneider, Jim Norton, Hal Holbrook, Mark Povinelli
It was a little over a year ago that I saw the trailer for “Water for Elephants” before watching the movie “True Grit” with my father. He confessed to me that he had loved the book. He had a look of guilty pleasure on his face. This was coming from a man who has hardly read a book that didn’t involve Green Beret’s, Marines, or Navy SEALs in his entire life. Certainly, this intrigued me to see this circus-based romance.
I think this may be a case of the book being better than the movie, although the movie is solid in what it is trying to be. It’s a little predictable, but the journey is fairly well done. The story involves a young man during the depression, who stows away on a circus train. To save himself from being thrown off in a manner that would likely leave him severely injured, he offers his services as a veterinarian.
The man who runs the circus is a tyrant who employs his wife as his star attraction. She catches the eye of the young man, and the stage for a Shakespearean tragic romance is set. Robert Pattinson plays the young man in a more challenging romance than his “Twilight” gig. Christoph Waltz is the mean-spirited circus manager. This role is a little more standard than his Oscar-winning turn as Hans Landa in Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds”, but Waltz still pulls off an impressive performance.