WATER FOR ELEPHANTS (2011)

TMG Scale 6.0
Starring Reese Witherspoon, Hal Holbrook, Christoph Waltz, Robert Pattinson

TMG: This is a unique and decent but angst driven love story.  I fell in love with the elephant but not much else.

The film started on a bogus premise. A young and handsome Cornell University vet med graduate named Jacob (Pattinson)  is pulled from his final exam and advised his parents have died in a car accident? Oh come on…they couldn’t have waited two hours? Although I can relate a bit. My former girlfriend called me the night before my grad school exam to announce she was running off with a Latin gynecologist over twice her age.  Some people lack both humanity  and timing. So our young, almost a doctor, Jacob hops a train to join the circus? Okay, maybe so. I cannot help but wondered what he would have done if his fiancee had dumped him for a Latin gynecologist?

Back to the show. On the Benzini Brothers circus train,  Jacob becomes smitten with the bosses wife Mariena (Witherspoon). This  is hardly a good idea on any day or in any generation. Circus boss August (Waltz) is a ‘little Hitler’  of a driven man to beat Barnun & Bailey at the circus game. He brings young doc Jacob under his wing and almost invites him to fall for his wife.  When he does, it is unclear whether he is truly surprised or relished the plan all along.

Hal Holbrook appears in a cameo role as the aged Jacob. He stumbles across a traveling circus trailer while AWOL  from a local nursing home. He relates his life story in flashback fashion somewhat like Gloria Stewart did in Titanic (1997) as  the aged “Rose.” Frankly, Holbrook’s brief appearances were the few truly touching ones in the film. It’s all a nice love story, but what was the message or point of it all?  None I could find.  At best it says, “If you find true love is your bosses hot young wife, go for it…but it may cost you!”

Joy Lynn: This movie reminds me of what a Walt Disney Film should look like.  The love story was predictable without any effective drama—just fluff. I had a difficult time seeing Jacob’s motivation to join the circus.  If you are that close to getting your Veterinary of Science degree from Cornell,  why on earth would you skip out of taking the final exam to join the circus?  If he had not been so well educated, I might possibly see the reasoning.  The fact Jacob did not see the point in going back to school was hard for me to digest.

Like Art, I felt more of a connection with “Rosie” the elephant  than I did Jacob and Marlena.   Their romance seemed staged and artificial. And, I still don’t get the title! But, overall, I enjoyed the movie.  There was plenty of entertainment with the beauty of Reese Witherspoon and all the circus drama.

 

 

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