Monday, May 2, 2011

Water for Elephants

This is not a perfect film (the framing device, ugh) but it is a real rarity in today's big studio output: a solidly crafted romantic melodrama, and for the most part, it works. The villains are villainous, the lovers are attractive, and it makes you care. Plus it has two great performances, one from Christoph Waltz as a borderline psychotic circus owner, and proud husband of Marlena (played by Reese Witherspoon), and the second is by the beautiful old elephant that plays Rosie the elephant in the film. Reese Witherspoon is also good as the put-upon wife but I wish she had a little more edge, and Robert Pattinson holds his own as the film's lead. He's not amazing but he doesn't embarrass himself, and even though he doesn't have great chemistry with Reese Witherspoon he does have great chemistry with Rosie.

It's not a surprise to me that there is a huge disconnect between critic's ratings for this film (not so high) and audience polling scores (very high).  This is a crowd pleaser and even though it's not a complex film it is made for adults. It transports the viewer into a memorable and fanciful time and place. It's escapism without superheroes.

1 comment:

  1. The book was highly recommended to me, Peter. But I only got about a third of the way through it. I was so afraid of reading anything bad happening to Rosie I just didn't have the fortitude. I'm also leery of seeing the film for the same reason. I cannot stomach watching an animal being tormented and I know that there are some cruel scenes in the book. I will wait for the dvd and than I suppose fast forward. Not the best way to view a film, but better than nothing. Or maybe 'nothing' is better. I don't know.