Directed by: Francis Lawrence
Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Robert Pattinson, Christoph Waltz
On the cusp of finishing his veterinarian degree, Jacob\’s (Pattinson) life is thrown into disarray following a family tragedy. Dejected, he leaves his life behind him and follows the train tracks, only to stow away on a circus train, which changes the course of his life forever. Marlena (Witherspoon), the star attraction and wife to the ruthless August (Waltz), soon captures Jacob\’s attention, and a forbidden love begins to blossom.
Based on the novel by Sara Gruen, Water for Elephants is a romantic tale that is as gritty as it is glib. Much darker than anticipated, the circus setting during the Great Depression provides a revealing look at the often-cruel treatment of both the animals and performers alike. But there is a sense of glamour within this grim lifestyle, carrying a sense of nostalgic charm for the magic that the circus must have brought in otherwise difficult times.
It was this unique aesthetic that attracted director Francis Lawrence to the story. At the film\’s Sydney premiere, he spoke to us about this desire to bring it to life: â€˜I\’d always been interested in the circus, especially from that era, and to be able to tell a really visual and visceral story from that era was really fun\’, he said.
Much like the theatre that surrounds the spectacle of the circus, in this film everything in life and in love for Marlena appears to be an act, until the very real feelings she has for Jacob threatens to bring things all undone. But with August\’s fiery temper set to boil over, Jacob and Marlena must risk everything and everyone if they are to be together.
While the violence can be at times quite challenging to bear, Water for Elephants demonstrates a depth of character and storytelling that is all too often absent in modern romances. As much a period film as any thing else, you will be hard pressed not to fall in love with the many animals, especially the elephant herself.
Water for Elephants is in cinemas from May 12.
Category: Film & TV