Here are some Water for Elephants reviews
But the main attraction here is the performances of the three stars. Witherspoon has been very scarce on screen since winning the Best Actress Oscar in 2005 for “Walk the Line.” In the six years before winning the award she appeared in no fewer than nine films. Since, she has appeared in half that number. Her work here is perfectly nuanced in a role that could have quite easily been cliché’d. Waltz is perfect as August in a role that shows us why that Oscar win was so well deserved. But the surprise here, for me anyway, is Pattinson. Quiet and brooding in the “Twilight” films he seems to jump off the screen here, matching Waltz and Witherspoon scene for scene. Who knew this kid could act?? Well done young man. Applause also to the great Hal Holbrook, whose performance bookends the film. And I would be remiss if I didn’t include praise for Rosie the elephant, Queenie the dog and the other animals that help tell the story.
Full review here:
It makes me laugh that Robert Pattinson is playing a character named Jacob in this one, but honestly, he continues to impress me as a guy who just needs to get past this particular moment in his career so he can start being viewed as an actor and not just his franchise.
For me, Pattinson and Waltz are the movie. Witherspoon seems wildly miscast, and that may be my personal thing. Marlena is meant to be this angel, this creature who casts a spell over Jacob the moment he sees her, who drives August to madness, and I just don’t buy it with Reese. Pattinson doesn’t have to express much range here, but he does exactly what he’s been hired to do. Waltz was definitely hired to play a character not unlike what he played in “Inglorious Basterds,” which is not to say I think this was influenced by that film. It’s just that you need a very particular guy to play both charming and spitting mad, sometimes within the same scene, and Waltz has demonstrated an ability to suggest all sorts of things simmering deep down inside.
No matter. For the audience that is familiar with the book or that just wants a two-handed weepie this weekend, “Water For Elephants” will deliver. My only words of warning would be that if you are sensitive to abuse of animals, even simulated, you might not be able to hang with this.
Full review here:
And, bang, we are in 1931 with Pattinson hoping a train and inadvertently joining a circus that’s struggling as it wends its way down the rails and across Depression Era America. Pattinson, who always has seemed like a flat-liner in the Twilight movies, perks up a bit here. He’s still the quietest guy in any scene, but this role, as a lad who goes from shit shoveler to staff veterinarian for the circus in a matter of days, is perfect for him. The owner of the circus is the deliciously evil Chrsitoph Waltz, who won an Oscar for playing a similar role in “Inglorious Basterds,” it’s true—however, we see more human sides to to this character, in glimpses. We also see that he thinks nothing of killing people or hurting animals to keep an eye on the bottom line.
I’m a sucker for a good romance. This is an “okay” romance. What I really dug about this was being transported to another time and place. It’s beautifully shot and skillfully directed and all the character roles strike just the right tone. I really felt vested in the guys in the background. And while I never fully believed in the “attraction” between Pattinson and Witherspoon, I had no doubt whatsoever that the old man, shedding tears as he concluded his story, loved that girl with all his heart.
Full review here
Some may be surprised to see the name of Francis Lawrence listed as director, not that his previous genre films weren’t directed just fine, but “Water for Elephants” seems like such a departure from them. He handles the real world material quite masterfully, establishing the circus setting as a backdrop for a fairly conventional drama, while capturing all the magic and romanticism that comes along with that environment. Granted, this isn’t a story that requires great subtlety and Lawrence doesn’t let his budget go to waste, enhancing every shot with lush and lavish scenery.
He’s working from a solid screenplay by Richard LaGravanese, whose writing really pushes the cast to do stronger work. Pattinson brings plenty of personality to Jacob, making him immensely likeable and keeping the viewer invested in all his highs and lows, the role offering lots of opportunities to show a wide range of emotions. Witherspoon doesn’t have a lot of heavy lifting and she’s more impressive for her acrobatics on an elephant than her dramatic moments. Their romance is kept mostly on the backburner for a good hour, but what keeps the movie from being a standard love triangle conflict between Jacob, Marlena and August is the arrival of the elephant Rosie and what her presence brings to their relationships.
Few films deliver exactly what’s advertised as well as “Water for Elephants” does with the results being an old school Hollywood romantic epic unlike anything we regularly see anymore. The fact it works as well as it does is a strong testament both to the source material and to those involved with bringing it to the screen.