Water For Elephants: Stranger Than You Dreamt It

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by Renee Anna Craig

Staff Writer

Have you ever dreamed of running away with the circus? Not having any responsibilities? Eating popcorn and cotton candy all the time? Well it might not be as simple as that.

Water for Elephants is a story about a young man who does just that, he runs away with the circus.  The story begins in modern day at a circus where an old man begins to tell his life story to an employee there, Charlie, played by Paul Schneider, who some of you may recognize as Mark from the beginning seasons of Parks and Recreation. As this man tells his tale, we are transported back in time to the depression era America as he, Jacob Jankowski, is forced out of his home and joins the Benzini brothers circus as a veterinarian. In the circus Jacob learns about life, love, and people’s true characters.

Water for Elephants is based of the best selling book of the same name by author Sarah Gruen. Robert Pattinson stars as Jacob and Reese Witherspoon stars as Marlena the star of the circus and Jacob’s love interest. Unfortunately she is also the wife of the abusive circus owner August, played by Christoph Waltz.

Robert Pattinson, who some of you may recognize from the Twilight Saga movies, gives a genuine and loving performance as Jacob. He gives us a kind and innocent Jacob who is relatively blind to the ways of the world. We follow him as discovers the best and the worst parts of life. Reese Witherspoon gives us a solid performance and is patient as the star circus performer who has long ago given up on her dreams of a better life. The standout performance is by far Christopher Waltz’s as August. You may recognize him from his performance as Col. Hans Landa in Inglourious Basterds. His August is egual parts pitiful and cruel, so that even if sometimes you wish he would die you still feel bad for him.

Some of the others stars of this movie are the animals. Water for Elephants features lions, camels, giraffes, hyenas, and of course elephants. Rosie the elephant, whose name is Tai in real life, is absolutely gorgeous and steals the show. Animal lovers may walk into this movie expecting to be entertained and amazed but I would caution them. There is a considerable amount of violence against animals in this movie that I was surprised by.

At different points in the film, a horse in shot and an elephant beaten. In the case of the horse, the violence is not shown but only heard and implied, but in the case of the elephant you see it being jabbed with an iron rod. Some this may not be alarming but I would caution animal lovers that though this movie is excellent they might need to prepare themselves beforehand.Besides the violence against animals there is also violence against humans. For any fans of Robert Pattinson out there I would warn you he does get beaten up.

Though I was shocked and horrified at the violence, overall the movie was excellent. It told a beautiful story full of life lessons and human emotions. If you can get past the violence this is a movie I would recommend.