In the new movie from 20th Century Fox, Water for Elephants, Robert Pattinson steps out of his role of vampire and into the role of a veterinary student during the Great Depression. Pattinson plays Jacob Jankowski, the son of Polish immigrants, who is about to take his final exam to graduate as a veterinarian from Cornell. Before he can even begin his test he receives the news that both of his parents were killed in a car crash leaving Jacob with no where to go or home to call his own. As many men seeking work during the Great Depression, Jacob decides to hop a train out of town in hopes of finding a paycheck at the next stop. Little does he know that he does not have to look for the next town to find a job. Jacob soon realizes that he has hopped onto a circus train. After lying about being a real veterinarian Jacob joins the circus to take care of the exotic animals like lions, zebras, giraffes, and eventually an elephant named Rosie. Jacob may think that he has awakened in heaven, but soon he learns that circus life in the 1930s is a harsh and unforgiving especially with the owner and ring master like August. August is the owner of the Benzini Brothers Circus and he runs it like his own little kingdom with himself as king. August has a wife named Marlena who is the star attraction of the show and August’s most prized possession. After August’s temper, tirades, and mistreatment of the animals and performers pushes everyone to the brink, Jacob and Marlena are drawn together into a dangerous game of attraction and love.
Water for Elephants is an elegant love story about two people who cannot be together and a story of whether or not love can truly conquer all. The background of a circus adds an element of whimsy and excitement to the story. The sets are amazing right down to the last detail. The tone of the film switches back and forth from elation to desperation leading you on an emotional rollercoaster ride. Most of all the film has you asking the question: can the flames of love between Jacob and Marlena be allowed to flourish under the rule of the maniacal August? Every time the two lovers have the flames extinguished by something of someone, their love is reignited and the flames are fanned. Will they ever find a way to be together? The movie keeps you guessing until the very end.
This film is full of amazing actors whose performances truly engulf you into their world. Oscar winner Christoph Waltz is terrific as the tyrannical August. He is a gentleman on the outside, but a true monster on the inside. Waltz has a way about him that makes him perfect as sinister characters. Oscar winner Reese Witherspoon is breathtakingly beautiful as the talented Marlena who has a heart of gold. Her portrayal of a woman torn between the man she married and the man she loves is perfect. Most surprisingly was the performance given by Robert Pattinson, who as the young Jacob, proves that he does not need a set of fangs to give a great performance. He is able to hold his own against the two acting powerhouses of Waltz and Witherspoon with his charm. Pattinson is more than just his good looks. Above all is the performance given by a little known actress named Rosie the Elephant who almost steals the show with her charisma. Water for Elephants is a movie that is sure to be enjoyed by anyone looking for an endearing love story with its unique story and amazing actor performances.