Well I never read the book, I know it’s famous and a best seller, just never got to it. I loved the trailer for the movie though. I think the problem for this film is its two stars. Robert Pattinson has to deal with the Twilight shadow casting over his career. Most guys either dislike him or write him off. Reese Witherspoon still can’t shake her idiotic character from Legally Blonde and that’s what people see when she’s on screen. I start with this because both of them rock these roles and are amazing on screen together. Add in the amazing Christoph Waltz as August a leader of a circus who rules with an iron fist and a pinch of crazy. These three along with beautiful direction make this film a must see.
We follow Jacob a student in Cornell who is learning to be a vet. Then one day his life changes dramatically as his Polish mother and father are killed in a car crash. It’s the 1930’s and his father didn’t exactly have money left behind. So Jacob finds himself with no home or job. He jumps on a train that is for the circus. He makes friends and finds himself a job as the circus vet.
While working he falls in love with the main act of the show. This of course is Marlena played by Witherspoon. Problem is she’s married to August who not only looks at her as a wife, but as one of his things that no one else can touch. The circus is on the verge of going broke until August buys an elephant named Rosie. While taking care of the animal Jacob and Marlena become close and a relationship grows. August of course as this goes on becomes more aggressive and his insanity grows. This leads to violence and abuse that is very hard to watch.
This story is not only a love story between two people but between people and the creatures around us. August does not care about people and especially animals. In one brutal scene August beats Rosie the elephant after a show goes wrong. Not only is Jacob and Marlena attached to the elephant but we are too. All the actors though help move this film along, Pattinson is stoic and really shows a lot of charm in the role. While Witherspoon has a harder role to play and is innocent mixed with sexuality, she also looks the part. Waltz is brilliant as August because he mixes charm with anger and insanity. When he’s on screen it’s impossible not to keep your eyes on him.
The look of the film is great, every scene flows together. It also captured the feel of the 1930’s and never at any moment did I feel like we were watching a movie set. This film is for film lovers frankly, it’s a mix of everything and turned out to be a great movie.